LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2013 — News of a beheading might conjure thoughts of extreme religious fanaticism. However, on Saturday, a soccer game at a park in Brazil turned from a sporting event to a day of tragic and grotesque horrors when one player was stabbed and a referee was beheaded.
According to the Associated Press, Josenir Abreu got into an argument with referee Otavio da Silva after Abreu was ejected from the game. The argument led to a fist fight. The fist fight then ended with Abreu being stabbed by the referee. Then things got out of control.
Fans watching the game became incensed that Silva stabbed Abreu and stormed the field. The crowd stoned Silva, but this was not enough to quench their thirst for blood. Otavio da Silva’s body was then quartered. From a video online of the body afterwards, it appears that both of Silva’s legs were ripped from his body at the knee.
Still, this was not enough to satisfy the crowd. After the quartering was over, the referee was beheaded. Was this enough? No. In a final act of horror, Otavio da Silva’s head was skewered on a piece of a tree branch that was stuck into the ground on the field.
Josenir Abreu died later at a hospital from the stab wounds he received from Silva. Police have one person in custody and are searching for other perpetrators.
This behavior is insane. How is it that the spectators saw this as a fitting retribution? When did life become so insignificant that an angry mob would want to rip limbs from another human?
Why did nobody stop the main culprits when they wanted to stone the referee? Or when they wanted to quarter him? Or when they started to cut his head off? Why did the crowd let these people put his head on a stick?
At no point did someone say, “Hey, guys, I think this is pretty insane. Maybe we should let the police sort this out.” It is tragic anytime a life is lost, but it is even more tragic when lives are lost over a sporting event.
When a game trumps human decency, it is time to reevaluate who we are as humans. It is time we learn to appreciate the gift that life is. Life is fleeting and to waste what little time we have here fighting and killing over a meaningless game is insane. This is not only a sad day for sports, but a sad day for all of humanity.
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