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The scariest stories in today's news, to me, are the ones of people who just lose it and go "postal" on innocent folks. These are the ones who sit around and nurse their grudges until they turn into a full blown killing rampage. Like the guy who shot the Chicago judge's husband and Mom. And eventually himself. Like the guy in Atlanta. Like the one who walked into the church and mowed down the members.

This type of crazy has a death wish, and like a terrorist, wants to take others down with him as some sort of salve to his tortured psyche. I live in a small rural town so there's not much crime here except for the usual drug busts, DUIs and domestic disputes. That's why I was so stunned when a life was taken right out the front door of my church while I was sitting in the choir loft.


It was several years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. As I walked out of the church to go to my car which was parked next to the adjacent service station, I noticed crime scene tape surrounding the parking lot of the station. Hmm...Odd I thought. Someone must have broken in. By the time I got home 15 minutes later I learned that local law enforcement was looking for a man who had fatally knifed the service station owner right there in the bay and left him there to bleed to death.

Mr. Patterson had been a kind enough soul that he answered this fellow's call, on a Sunday morning no less, for help with a car that was down. Unbeknownst to him, the man had been on a killing spree that crossed 3 states and ended in ours. He had begun in Oklahoma a few days earlier and ended up with a broken down car in West Tennessee.

In the split second that followed when the station owner discovered that the man's credit card was stolen, his life was taken. In the middle of his beloved business. With hymns being sung next door.

He was eventually caught about 45 miles from here and is being tried in all 3 states on murder charges. Who knows, maybe he'll finally get the death he so desperately seemed to want.

It still haunts me to this day to think of that station owner laying there dead as I went to get my car. Was he still warm? Did his family know? Every time I drive by the place I get an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach that can only come from remembering the day that I walked out of the House of God and smack dab into the face of violence and evil.

And I will never forget that feeling as long as I live
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