Nidal Malik Hasan is a United States Army Medical Corps officer who fatally shot 13 people and injured 32 others in a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009. On August 23, 2013, a jury panel convicted him of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. On August 28, a panel of thirteen military officers sentenced him to death.
On August 16, Christopher Lane, a 22-year old native of Melbourne, Australia, was fatally shot in the back while jogging near his girlfriend’s home in Duncan, Okla. He had come to America on a baseball scholarship at East Central University in Ada, Okla.
Three boys – ages 15, 16 and 17 – are charged with what prosecutors call a “thrill killing.” Two are being charged with first-degree murder, as adults. The third is charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory to first-degree murder.
On August 21, an 88-year-old World War II veteran was savagely beaten by two teenagers in a parking lot in Spokane, Wash. Two male suspects assaulted Delbert Belton for no apparent reason. He died the next morning from injuries sustained in the brutal attack.
“Shorty,” as he was known by his friends, served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific during WWII and was shot in the leg during the Battle of Okinawa. Two teenagers have been arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree murder, with additional teenagers arrested and charged with rendering criminal assistance.
No matter how many times I read or hear similar stories, I’m shocked and dismayed by the senseless, needless and evil nature of these brutal crimes. All too often, but not always, the culprits are young men who perpetrate their dastardly deeds with little or no provocation or motive. In one of the cases above, the violators described themselves simply as “bored.” In other cases, sheer terrorism, motivated by misguided religious principles or promises, is the cause.
In addition to these cases, we hear and see on TV news reports and video the hundreds, even thousands of mostly young men who comprise the throngs of riotous demonstrators in places like Cairo, Egypt, and Damascus, Syria. Those demonstrations are violent and often deadly, evoking puzzlement and dismay at the absence of respect for life in their demeanor and behavior.
In all these cases, loved ones and family members of the victims are the ones who truly pay the price. I wish I could offer hope that these senseless, needless and evil killings would stop. Sadly and for many reasons, I doubt that will be the case.
Satan still walks about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. “Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Lord, have mercy!