Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who let what happen?

I read the update of the sentence handed down to Timothy Gearhart this week, who was convicted of third-degree murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, after attacking and killing Kutztown University sophomore Kyle Quinn last fall.

Speaking to the court, Gearhart apologized to Kyle Quinn's family and to his own, saying a night of ''overindulgence'' was partly to blame for his actions. He'd spent the eveing with friends in a bar.

According to the news report, the court learned the following from Gearhart: ''I didn't mean to hurt so many people. I do not know why God allowed this to happen. For the past year, I have thought of your son every day and will for the rest of my life.''

Why God allowed this to happen? Why God did? I'm pretty sure the God familiar to many people of faith, regardless of their individual beliefs, had no part in what took place at about 2:30 in the morning on Main Street in Kutztown. God wasn't dangling the puppet strings that night, watching Timothy and his two drunken friends, brothers Kenneth and Terry Kline, execute some macabre dance steps that ended in violence and death.

I believe Tim Gearhart will think of Kyle Quinn everyday for the rest of his life. That horrifying moment on Main Street that happened after last call last year cast a long, unending shadow over the lives of many, many people. Most of them will live out their lives thinking of Kyle everyday as well, never quite understanding why or how this happened. Tim says he will, too, and even though he has a minimum of twenty years to contemplate his answer, I don't think he'll come up with one for Kyle's family and friends.

But I hope he gets to the point where he recognizes that God - in whatever form God takes for him - was clearly absent from the actions he chose to take on Main Street in Kutztown last year.


Anonymous said...

I believe Mr. Gearhart has a problem accepting responsilbity for his actions. Someone neglected to teach him that. He pleaded guilty but he really doesn't seem to grasp that he truly is GUILTY. He now has 20-40 years to see the error of his ways.

renee said...

You may be right. It came about because of the alcohol...or was the heat of the moment...or because he was hanging out with 2 friends who had also been drinking...or it was due to the late hour when almost nothing good can happen...or it was a result of bravado or posturing - by three guys who's spent the night drinking as they confronted a young college student...it was everything except the fact that he committed a crime.
Thanks for the thoughtful response.