Monday, April 09, 2007

how can it be?

I'm not a daytime tv watcher, but I did put on the tube this late afternoon just to sit down for a moment (so I thought). I became mesmerized by the subject, a family that disappeared in a small, community-oriented town in Rhode Island in the early 90's. I'm also not a court tv watcher or reality crime person, though I do like CSI. Anyway, turns out a family of three, parents and an 8-year-old, were murdered by a family "friend" and business associate. The odd part about this is the murderer went to relatives of this family to tell them they had been kidnapped by the mafia in the blood-stained car of the missing people. At this time of course no one knew if they were alive or dead or what had happened just exactly. The bodies remained missing and no charges were filed for a year and a half.

The thing that got me was that when the bodies were found, this "friend" was charged with murder. He was so trusted by the family at first that he had been given permission to pick up their daughter from daycare. He kept insisting he was innocent and a victim of a mafia plot. He testified from the witness stand about fictitious Italian and Chinese hit men that supposedly terrorized the family and were ultimately to blame. The story was so bizarre the prosecution feared this man being ruled insane and delusional if the jury didn't buy the story, so he would get off regardless. Again, it seemed impossible to me that someone could gain the trust of rational folk, plot to murder them all over a business deal gone bad (but not that bad), including picking up an 8-year-old child from daycare with that thought in mind, then cover it all up with some fantastic story. It sounds like a child trying to wiggle out of some kitchen disaster or a broken window. But this is a middle-aged man who simply lost his friend's money in a bad business deal and was called on it. His response was to kill. He was charged with the murders and given life.

Where did it all go so wrong? Scripture says foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from them. I don't think this means beating a child is how to keep them on the right path. Discipline speaks of teaching and training. Without that, the human heart is capable of anything. Lack of discipline and rebellion against parents was such a hideous thing it was punishable by death in the Old Testament. I think we need that help all throughout our lives. We need to be kept accountable, we need people to help with the job of keeping discipline in our lives. The undisciplined mind is so prone to error I don't know how we do as well as we do. I'm not suggesting people would murder in answer to life's difficulties, but clearly, in a place where people said it shouldn't happen, it did. Doesn't matter where...the real problem is in the heart of a man.


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