To the Point for 7-27-06


IN THE GRAND SCHEME of things, Indiana is a relatively quiet place to live. Known as “The Crossroads of America”, we live in a state that – although not immune to violence and tragedy – keeps a pretty even keel about things.

All of that was shattered late last week when someone began shooting a cars as they drove down Interstate 65. One man was wounded.

One man was killed.

What made this even more disturbing was that the shots were fired from an overpass near Seymour. That’s our end of the state, and that bothers us. We some how get used to shootings in places like Indianapolis or Fort Wayne or Gary. Those are the “big city”, and in the big city, those things happen sometimes.

But not in Southern Indiana. Not here.

We have gotten used to a different pace of life here. We are so relaxed, in fact, that when a tragedy does occur, it strikes deeply at our hearts, because we are not as calloused to it. That’s not to say that tragedies here are more important here than in other areas of the state, but in some strange way, people in larger metropolitan areas seem to get used to what goes on around them.

But suddenly last week we have someone shooting off of an overpass. We aren’t sure why this is happening, or where it’s going to happen next; so as a community we begin to have second thoughts on what are normally typical parts of our lives – going to work or shopping or to the grocery store.

Then shots ring out near Muncie, and a whole new dynamic begins to develop.

Is there more than one shooter? Are we going to see “copy cat” crimes begin to spring up all over the state? How is this happening?

Violent crime is something that people don’t really understand on many levels; but when that crime is also a senseless one, it becomes even more heinous.

A man with hungry children in desperation robs a grocery store. We don’t condone it, but at some level we grieve for the situation that the man was in.

But to go up on a highway overpass and just start randomly shooting at cars as they drive by? There is no justification or explanation.

Now, if what we have gone through is not enough, late news is that a 17-year old boy has been arrested for the shootings.

He will be a high school senior this fall.

Now try and make sense of that.

A young man who has his entire life in front of him, at some point chooses to throw it all away. Preliminary reports say that he will stand trial for capital murder – and capital punishment will be on the table when a jury begins to deliberate.

What drives a young person to the point where they decide to load a weapon and drive to another part of the state and climb up on an overpass late at night and start shooting?

What drives them to return to their home area and do it again?

Fresh off of the situation involving another young man at this year’s Madison Regatta; as a society we continually search for answers as to why our young people are finding such self destructive tendencies.

I hope that in some form the young man in Muncie will be able to get some help; and I also hope that he can also find some sense of peace.

A sense of peace for what he has done; and a sense of peace with the demons inside of him that drove him to do it.

I also pray for the families who have been affected by this situation, especially for those who have lost a loved one. It is a senseless tragedy in a senseless situation; and at this point we can only be thankful that the matter has apparently been stopped before some other family had to experience those same tragic emotions.