I am Knight-Detective Aberforo Honata. Most of you likely don’t recognize me by name, unless you follow the news very closely. That’s okay. I didn’t accept the offer to right this editorial to talk about myself, but rather, about an experience that I had with a man whose name, I would guess, the majority of you do recognize.
I am the man who arrested Vitoro Ongive. I am also the man who interviewed him after his arrest. There are a great many people in this country, and perhaps across the world, who are looking for some sort of insight into him. There are people who are confounded by his actions who wish to understand. There are people who think they understand him, who only want to know more. I don’t feel I’m writing this today to answer either of you, but rather to say that, as close as I was to the situation, I don’t feel like I understand him any better than any of you.
When someone like Mr. Ongive passes through your life, it affects you. As a Knight-Detective, I suppose many of you think I should unflappable. We are expected to be the cold blade of the law, after all, not human beings with thoughts and emotions of our own. Well, unlike the K.D.s you see on TV, we are real people. The things we see and deal with every day affect us, sometimes deeply. Sometimes a bit too deeply.
I have been with the Homicide Division of the Queen’s Police for nearly a decade. I have seen more death in these ten years than the majority of the populace will see in their entire lifetimes. I have spoken to more murders than most people even realize exist. I say this not because what you know about me is relevant, but because I think it’s important that you understand something of my pedigree before I say this:
Vitoro Ongive frightened me.
Mr. Ongive is, by some metrics, an average man. He worked an average job, as a college professor. He lived in an average home, in an average town. He was not Powered, like many of the criminals that enter public awareness. It would have seemed that he had no special capacities, except for the fact that he got away with his murders for over six years.
There are a few things I’m not going to speak about here, for various reasons. I’m not going to talk about how many people Mr. Ongive killed, because that figure has been all over the news media. There’s no reason to celebrate it any longer. I’m not going to talk about how Mr. Ongive selected his victims, because I’ve seen far too many disgusting responses regarding their nature, and quite frankly, I can’t bear to see any more.
You see, the thing that shook me most, in speaking with Mr. Ongive, was his conviction that he was right. He was utterly convinced of it. As humans are wont to do, in my time with Mr. Ongive, I asked him: “Why?”
Why did he kill these people? What reasons did he have behind what I, and many others, saw as madness?
His answer? “I wanted to make the world a better place.”
This was not a throwaway answer. He repeated this sentiment several times, in different ways. Mr. Ongive genuinely believed that, in killing the people that he did, he was improving the world. He believed that the people whose lives he took deserved their fate, and that it was his right… No, that it was required of him to remove them from the world, because, as he saw it, nobody else was up to the task.
Mr. Ongive expressed consternation that I, and others who spoke to him, didn’t share his point of view. He honestly believed his murders were justified. He brought up twisted interpretations of the law, even, and of That Which is Written, in order to prove to us that he was in the right. As we now know, given that Mr. Ongive has been sentenced to the fullest extent of our laws, his arguments held no water in court.
Still, they stuck with me. They rattled around in my brain for days as I tried to consider whether, as he had said, killing people could truly improve the world. I don’t think I would have even given it a thought, had he argued more poorly for his case. There are two further things that caused me to be bothered by his sentiment.
One: Mr. Ongive’s sentiments are, frighteningly, represented among other people in this country. This is why I don’t wish to discuss the nature of Mr. Ongive’s victims, on the off-chance that those reading don’t know. I have become deeply disturbed by the number of people who seem to agree with Mr. Ongive, at least on the surface, in his selection of his victims.
I have seen people post online anonymously, claiming that Mr. Ongive was right to murder those who he murdered. I have seen people post this under their real names, with no attempt to hide who they are. I have seen people calling for him to be awarded a medal by the Queen, rather than the death penalty. I have even seen those in our own news media leaving an open question as to whether or not Mr. Ongive might have been justified.
Two: Mr. Ongive has been sentenced to the death penalty. I was there, at his sentencing hearing, having wanted to see the end of his case. I wish I had not been, because he knew I was there. He turned to me, in a dramatic fashion I thought one only saw in movies, and stared me right in the eyes after the judge spoke his sentence.
He said nothing, but I knew the words behind that gaze. I knew he was looking at me as a hypocrite, for I had argued with him, during our interview, that no death could possibly make the world a better place. I told him I thought that every human deserved the right to live and find a place in the world, no matter their misdeeds or the circumstances of their birth.
Yet there I was, with a slight smile on my face which faded quickly into an expression of horror as I realized that, in a way, I had become him. I was quietly celebrating the upcoming death of another man, because I thought the world would be better without him in it. In that moment, I hated myself, for I felt that I had become everything that I had railed against in my conversations with a man that I had come to hate.
Perhaps, as a Knight-Detective in the service of the Queen, I was wrong to hate him. After all, we are supposed to be fair and just: the unfeeling, cold blades of the law, who exist only to uphold it. Nevertheless, I don’t believe that, as a human being, I was wrong. Mr. Ongive readily admitted to his deeds. He felt no remorse for them, despite the pain and suffering and death he had caused.
Mr. Ongive frightened me. That much is true, but it may be inaccurate to say that I was shaken by this case purely because of him. He is, in the end, only one man. He is only one of the many, many killers who live among us. No, it was public response which Mr. Ongive’s case inspired that cut deep into me. It was, and is, the possibility that there are more like him out among us, more who might kill as he did: because he saw people he didn’t care for, and judged them unfit to live.
I will be taking a leave of absence, but I will be returning to my place as Knight-Detective. As I reflected in that courtroom, upon hearing Mr. Ongive’s sentencing, the law may be imperfect, but it is all we have. So long as it allows us to remove some evils from the world, even if its methods are not ideal, I will continue to enforce and support it.