I didn’t find out what, exactly, T.J. Lane said to the crowd when he was sentenced earlier this week. All I knew was that he’d revealed he was wearing a T-shirt with “killer” hand-written in marker and that he had flipped the bird to those in attendance. Bad enough, right? Then I found out what he said was:
“The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. F— all of you.”
I’m not sure whether there’s any “right way” to react to something like this. I expected myself to be infuriated – to feel the burn of righteous anger rise up from somewhere deep inside me. That didn’t happen. Instead, I just felt sad.
It makes me sad for a lot of reasons. For the horror Lane brought upon so many young people and their families. For the publicity his shirt, gesture, and words got him. For Lane’s attorney, who had zero control over Lane’s actions and who was only trying to seek justice (and I really do feel for how difficult it is to be a criminal defense attorney). I also felt sad for Lane. Sad for his view of the world, whatever that may be. Sad for his lack of compassion. Sad that he does not know love or hope (I assume these things, and perhaps that isn’t fair).
It’s disheartening to see the bad things that people do to other people. It makes you feel powerless because the world is so big, and you’re so small by comparison. What can you really do?
A friend of mine was kind enough to share Connie Shultz’s article on this subject, and I agree with her. You can hope, and you can pray. Hope that the good things people do – the little things, the medium things, the really big things – get more attention over time. Hope that people keep doing those good things and helping one another. And pray for those like Lane.