Since last weekend I’ve been reeling over a story that hits a bit closer to home than anything like this ever has.
It starts back in the 80’s when my aunt Mary Jane (aka Wicked Bitch) finally married at 62. Fred was the perfect match for a wicked bitch. He had two daughters, one who fit perfectly with the wicked duo and one, Sarah, who was the kind of person you liked the minute she walked in. Sweet and nice and you wondered how she got that way. I didn’t live here then and only saw the daughters a few times.
Last weekend, we finally got a bunch of newspapers after some days when delivery was impossible. As she looked through them my mother suddenly called out, “Fred’s daughter Sarah and her husband and two children are all dead.” Four obits with, as usual, no information about cause of death.
I figured whatever story led to the death of four people in one family must have made the news so I Googled the names. No speculation we’d made — house fire, car accident, plane crash, etc.–came close to the horror of the story.
The Wednesday before Valentine’s Day, Sarah’s 16-year-old son, Jason, got home before the rest of the family and shot each member of his family–his mother, his father and his little sister Gracie–in the head as they came in the door. He then attended a Youth Group meeting at his church, behaving as though nothing had happened.
Somewhere along the way he put his father’s guns in his mother’s car and started driving. State troopers in the Baltimore area tried to pull him over on Valentine’s Day for a traffic stop and he led them on a long chase. Eventually he crashed and couldn’t drive on. When troopers approached the car he opened fire. In the shootout he hit one of the troopers (in the vest) and they killed him.
The only thing anyone knows is that his parents had taken away his computer and cell phone privileges and he was furious. Otherwise, a church going kid who was in ROTC and had never seemed troubled. If he left any indication of what he was thinking no one is revealing it.
I hadn’t seen Sarah in years. My aunt died long ago and Fred died a few months ago so we were unlikely to cross paths again. I never met her husband or her children. But I knew her. She was part of my extended family. Suddenly one of those stories that normally seems far removed landed much closer. I always feel upset when I hear about something like this, but there’s been an extra layer of shock.
While I have faith that the Universe always has a reason, this is one of those times I question what the reason could be. I wish All That Is would send us a manifesto that explains why such events are a Must Have for life on earth…
All I can think of is to send prayers and Reiki to all those concerned — the two surviving children, the troopers, the souls of the dead… If you have a minute, maybe you can pray for them.
And I say the lovingkindness chant to myself as a reminder that at the center of everything is love.