This is probably the 20th time I have tried to write anything, following the deliberate downing by the co-pilot of Flight 9525 that killed everyone on board.
In a week that saw acres of space given over to Jeremy Clarkson being given the boot by the BBC, and Zayn Malik quitting One Direction, the tragedy of the murder of the innocents put everything into perspective.
The knowledge that this was the end for the passengers who were screaming does not bear thinking about; the anger of their families, knowing that this was no accident . . . I just can’t comprehend, nor put into words, the despair and grief they will suffer for evermore.
The mental instability of Andreas Lubitz has since come to light and he was clearly in no condition to fly on that day – and probably had not been for some time.
I understand depression. I understand suicide. But I will never be able to get my head around anyone who decides to take innocent lives with them. Stories about parents who kill their children, along with themselves, just to avenge their estranged partners, fills me with horror; likewise, this week, the thought that anyone could be so deranged as to commit so heinous an act, is, to me, incomprehensible.
I wonder, though, if he and any number had survived, what the legal position would be? Murder? Grounds for an insanity plea? Who could defend the indefensible? Would anyone be able to sit on a jury and honestly say they were impartial? It’s all conjecture, I know, and there will doubtless be many mental health experts wheeled out over the forthcoming weeks debating the issue. But surely this was nothing other than pre-meditated, cold-blooded murder.
There are two victims in this story for whom we should also have sympathy, and yet they are probably the ones who will garner the least: the killer’s parents. They heard just ten minutes before the press call that their son had deliberately crashed the plane. The pain they must inevitably have felt initially, losing a child, in an instant must have multiplied a million-fold, in the knowledge of that child having been capable of this unspeakable act.
They will have known that their son had mental health issues, I am sure; to what extent, who knows. The mentally sick become adept at hiding what is really going on – after all, Lubitz was able to hide it from his employers. But they must be going through the 28 years of his life (and they will do for the rest of theirs, I am certain) raking over every What if? in their child’s history.
They will be mystified when they think back to the birthdays and celebrations they had with a smiling infant; the joy he instilled in their hearts when he spoke his first words, took his first steps; and they will grieve for the son they had and was lost, who knows when, in the breakdown that became his life.
They will never lead normal lives again; neither will anyone else connected to this tragedy. But unlike the other victims, they will have scorn and anger poured upon them purely because people will see them as the origin of the instigator of the crime.
The world over, our hearts are filled to bursting point with the anger and pain for all on board, but particularly the young – kids returning from a school trip, their parents waiting at the airport to hear about the excitement of it all. Those same parents who will have given them warnings about how to stay safe, to look after themselves, never for a moment imagining they would never see them again, nor that their destiny lay not with themselves but a sick, sick man.
I think of the adults setting off excitedly, having a break from their working lives, people on business anticipating meetings the other end, crew members looking forward to time off from their duties . . . the horror of so many futures lost is unbearable.
I can have no sympathy for Andreas Lubitz, whom I see as nothing but a selfish, vile, inhumane assassin, but I will spare a thought for his parents, whose loss, confusion and grief will have ruined their lives also.
For no matter how much people will tell them, and they will tell themselves, that they are not responsible for this devastating carnage, they will always feel that they are: that they are the creators of a mass murderer.
And I have no idea how you even begin to get past that.