Liverpool, NY – Two days after Jenni-Lyn Watson disappeared, her closest girlfriend from Liverpool High School called Watson’s former boyfriend.
“The sound of his voice just shocked me,” Mallory Otis said. “I was hoping I was wrong. That he would sound upset, and be crying when I called. He acted like nothing in the world had happened.”
“He said, ‘Yeah, I’m totally devastated.’ In the calmest voice I ever heard,” Otis said.
Otis said she suspected then that Steven Pieper, 21, was responsible for Watson’s disappearance.
-From the Syracuse Post-Standard
My first thought when Jenni-Lyn Watson went missing was, “oh no, not again.” It’s sad to think that we live in a world where this type of occurrence has come to be expected. Honestly, I’m outraged at the fact that this type of behavior is no longer outrageous. We’ve all grown numb to violence. We are all quick to lay blame on what element of our society led to this desensitizing. Is it video games? Music with violent lyrics? Murder and mayhem on the news? No. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to remember that any life lost is a tragedy.
We need to pause. We need to step back from the madness of our day-to-day lives. We need to take a moment to think about the life that was lost and the lives that person’s passing touched. In this case, Jenni-Lyn’s death cut short her life while she was still growing and blossoming into the woman and dancer she was bound to become. Her parents, obviously, are reeling. Her classmates at Mercyhurst College and her friends back in Central New York’s hearts are all heavy. We cannot allow her, like so many others, just to become the next statistic. Yes, evidence points to her ex-fiancée, and in that case this is an example of domestic violence at its worse. But adding her to that tally, doesn’t bring her family and friends any comfort. It doesn’t ease their pain. For a long time, nothing will. For her parents, nothing may ever.
The most we can do to honor her memory and the lives of those individuals who have lost their lives at the hands of a murderous attacker, is to ingrain in ourselves and instill in each other a sense of violence not being the answer to our problems. If someone in your life is in a relationship that is physically or emotionally abusive, please do everything you can to support them and protect them. Sometimes we are too blinded by love to see what is right before our eyes. On our own, we may never be enough to counteract these senseless acts of violence, but together we may be enough to stem the tide of violence in our culture. Slowly, but surely, we can work toward a day when we no longer lose young women (or young men) to this type of cruelty.
My thoughts and prayers are with Jenni-Lyn Watson’s family.
Thanks for reading,