All murders are senseless, but it's pretty much impossible to understand why a person would fatally shoot complete strangers -- including an innocent young teen -- who are just going about their day and living life. A 73-year-old Missouri man named Frazier Glenn Miller has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder for reportedly gunning down three people -- including 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood -- at a Jewish community center and a nearby Jewish assisted living facility just one day before Passover.
As stupid and senseless as it is, we have a good idea what probably motivated the killer and nothing could be sadder: he was reportedly a "raging anti-Semite" who founded a Ku Klux Klan organization and shouted, "Heil Hitler!" as he sat in the back of a police car after his arrest.
Reat, a high school freshman who was a member of the debate team and an incredibly talented singer, was being driven to the Jewish center by his grandfather, William Lewis Corporon. He was going to audition for an American Idol-type competition. Both were reportedly shot and killed by Miller in the parking lot.
Miller then allegedly drove to a nearby retirement home, where he shot and killed the third victim, whose name has not been released. Police say he shot a total of five people, but two survived. He didn't know any of his victims, which makes us suspect his only motive was blind hate.
As much as most of us probably want to focus on Miller and debate what kind of punishment he should receive for stealing the lives of three people, it would be a shame to give him that much attention. In a way, I feel pity for him because he couldn't have lived a rich and full life while carrying so much hatred in his heart. I'm sure -- and hope -- he'll get what he deserves for his actions, but it would be a pity if he received more attention than those who deserve it: the victims of this terrible crime.
We know Reat had great talent. It would be wonderful if his family released videos or audio of his singing voice so we can remember him that way. We also know Reat's grandfather was a doctor. With hope, we'll learn more about the third victim so we can celebrate her life, as well. Our hearts go out to the families of these victims, who are being forced to mourn the loss of those they love on a holiday that should be filled with nothing but joy.
What would you say to the victims' families to alleviate their pain at this time?
Image via Emmanuel DYAN/Flickr