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A senseless murder hits home

Published February 08. 2014 09:00AM

Murder is obvious proof of moral deficiency, a basic evil of human nature.

Senseless murder is most savage of all.

In truth, all cold-blooded murder is senseless. There's never a good reason to take another life. When it happens, we scurry to find answers. We look for something called motive.

But the theories never quite add up. And they never suffice.

That's because no rational explanation can account for behavior completely irrational.

Part of the reason, I suppose is that killers aren't quite human.

Brilliant author Truman Capote tried to peer into a killer's mind when he penned "In Cold Blood."

He told of the brutal 1959 Kansas home invasion by two drifters. A farm family was bound, gagged and then shot at close range. Capote speculated about the killers' motives. He seemed to suggest that murder just happens.

Capote said a "temporary brain explosion" can result in someone committing "unpremeditated murder."

Today, police would call such a thing a crime of opportunity.

But then, as now, explanations just don't cut it. They're more like excuses.

And we can't necessarily spot a psychopath by appearance.

Someone who appears to be cut from a Norman Rockwell portrait might actually be a page from Alfred Hitchcock.

What appears normal on the outside might be horribly abnormal inside. There are some so perverted, crazed or angry that they believe killing will somehow ease or satisfy cravings of their own demented mind.

The sad truth is that no culture, no neighborhood and no woman driving alone at night is safe from barbarism that punctuates our semi-civilized society.

It's been that way all along, whether we want to admit it or not.

Man's inhumanity to his fellow man has been around since the beginning of time. The world, historically, has been home to psychos who've done unspeakable things for reasons that defy common sense. From the horror of the Christian Crusades to Hitler's Holocaust, no person during any era has been safe, nor will be safe, from evil lurking inside the mind of the sick and misguided.

The cause is probably genetic. I believe it's a biological aberration unrelated to any holiness-derived creation.

If goodness is intrinsic to design, then so is evil. Moral deficiencies are part of the human condition. So is mental illness. They're traits likely inherited the same way we inherit eye color.

Still, I wish I knew the solution. I wish I knew how to put a stop to the madness.

My beautiful, loving niece Angela was murdered last weekend, killed by a monster after she left work at the end of the day. A sociopath strangled her and stole her vehicle.

Just over one day later, a suspect was captured 520 miles away in Kinston, N.C., as he drove my niece's car.

He cruelly took her from loved ones at age 35, the prime of her life.

Right now, I wish I knew how to mend a long list of broken hearts, starting with my own. But I don't have a clue.

Those of us who work in daily journalism learn how to recognize an abnormality. We learn how to describe it, even how to deal with it to a certain extent. But we don't have a magic wand to fix it. Nor does anybody else.

At this point, all I can do is hope something similar never happens to anyone else. Yes, I can say a prayer for it to stop. But I'd only be fooling myself.

In the end, precious little can be done to prevent it. We can condemn murder and put people in jail. But it still won't disarm evil. Nor will it stop the next killing.

Truman Capote knew it. He told us this: "As long as you live, there's always something waiting; and even if it's bad, and you know it's bad, what can you do? You can't stop living."

And so it's time to inch forward, taking measured steps in a world of uncertainty. There's always something waiting.

Whatever you do, take care of your loved ones and always be careful.

Evil is all around, and a broken heart is forever.

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