June 20

1893 — Lizzie Borden found not guilty of murder


The news shows were calling it Lizzie Borden Syndrome.

Technically, it might be a misnomer.  Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the charge of murdering her father and stepmother.

Tell that to your own daughter.

She’s outside your bedroom.  You’ve moved a heavy dresser across the closed door, but you’re not sure how long the reinforcement will hold.

If anyone had asked, you’d have said your family didn’t even own an axe.  You have central heating, with no need to chop wood for a fireplace.

With a heavy thunk, the axe head again strikes the door.  Your daughter wiggles the metal bit in the wood, and you hear splintering as the crack widens.  A grunt, and the axe is pulled back, only to strike again.

As you wait on the bed, arms hugging your knees, you notice your daughter hums that terrible rhyme.  You’re not sure if it’s the “even up the score” or the “saw what she had done” variation.

With a new hollow sound, the axe strikes through to the back of the dresser — and one of the drawers slides partly open.

You jump from the bed, push the drawer back in, as if that will stop her.

She’s relentless, like the other LBS children you’ve heard about.  You simply didn’t believe it would happen in your household, too.  That’s why you don’t have a hammer and nails and more boards to secure the room.  That’s why you don’t have a handgun.

Another whack at the back of the dresser, a drawer slipping open again, while your daughter hums another verse.

You look down at your defenseless body, and you imagine forty or forty-one places the axe might strike.