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The Scoop - Explaining the unexplainable
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Why do bad things happen to good people?

That's sure to be a common topic this Sunday in churches throughout Warren County in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of Jordan Stevens on Sunday.

Why does a good, church-going man get snatched away from his wife and soon-to-be child for absolutely no reason by a man he had never met before?

I certainly don't have the answer to this question so don't expect to find it nestled in this column. Many of the church sermons I've heard over the years attribute such a tragedy to God's will.

I suppose this is as comforting an answer as any -- that the most powerful force in the universe has deemed this as the proper path and we must understand it's the way things were meant to be.

In studying various religious beliefs over the years, one theme that's common in Eastern religions is that every human body has a predetermined number of breaths inside it when it's born. Some religious leaders who are highly spiritual are even said to know the day they will die, a day I haven't decided if I'd want to know or not.

Such a theory would explain why perfectly healthy people are killed in unusual situations.

• There's the 38-year-old Boston woman who just this week was killed in an elevator accident.

• There's the female airplane passenger who was killed when she was partially sucked out of the plane in 2018 when a part flew off the engine and shattered her window. No one else on board was injured.

• There's the man who was asleep in his bed in Tampa, Fla., when a sinkhole opened up and sucked him beneath the earth. Everyone else at the home was OK.

These examples all support the theory that when it's your time to go, it's your time to go.

None of this really helps when a young man is murdered and it's natural, at least for me, to hope justice is served. As I was thinking about the tragic events that took place Sunday, I found myself thinking that at least there's some consolation the person responsible for the bloodshed is burning in hell. 

Then I started to wonder how healthy, or appropriate, is it for me to direct such hate toward someone who I never knew. Should I really gain satisfaction from a soul burning in hell?

Aileen Stevens, herself a kidnapping victim, provided words of encouragement when she spoke Wednesday night at her husband's candlelight vigil. She revealed that she and Jordan were both praying for their kidnapper during his rampage and that she would be relying on her faith in God to guide her through this time of emotional distress.

Faith, hope and love are all powerful forces and perhaps the only principles which can guide us through a world where a young man is shot and killed in front of his pregnant wife.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.