Belgian daycare killings shock Europe
I know the little Belgian town of Dendermonde. I drove there several times during my grad study days to board our research boat berthed there for our monthly sampling on the River Scheldt. A quiet, picturesque town. So of course it came with a shock when I heard the news about the Belgian daycare stabbing spree last Friday.
A man dressed like the Dark Knight character in the latest Batman film – face painted white while his eyes painted black – entered a daycare last Friday, January 23 and stabbed to death a caregiver and 2 babies, and injured 9 other little children and 2 caregivers. There were 21 babies in the daycare on that day and only 9 were unharmed. Others are still being treated with severe stab wounds.
The killer was caught and identified as a 20-year man with a history of mental illness.
Today, Sunday, more than 6000 people staged a silent march in Dendermonde in memory of the victims and their families. The Crown Prince Philippe and his wife, Princess Mathilde also visited the town over the weekend to offer their condolences.
Killing sprees are not that common in Western Europe. The fact that the daycare door was not security-locked is normal in most countries here where crime rate is generally low and personal security rarely a problem. This incident will definitely change a lot of things.
The incident was especially hard on mothers in this little country where almost 80% of women work away from home and therefore leave their babies at the daycare as early as 4 months after delivery.