Death in Steubenville

Bad as news from Steubenville, Ohio, is — it could have been worse.

Only one person is dead. Two are injured, but probably will recover.

One of the injured people was with the man who is dead, so investigators may get some clue as to why he shot a judge.

On the other hand, the man who drove the deceased to the courthouse says that he had not known what the shooter had in mind.

I regret the loss of life. I also think that attacking a judge seems imprudent.

No Clear Answers Yet

(From Keith Srakocic/AP, via NRP, used w/o permission.)
(“A prosecutor said Monday that Nathaniel Richmond was the man who shot and wounded Jefferson County, Ohio, Judge Joseph Bruzzese. Above, Richmond apologizes to the victim and her family after his son, Ma’Lik Richmond, and a co-defendant were found guilty of rape in juvenile court in Steubenville, Ohio.”

Ohio Judge Returns Fire After ‘Ambush’ Outside Courthouse
Laurel Wamsley, NPR (August 21, 2017)

“An Ohio judge traded gunfire with an assailant who shot him outside a county courthouse Monday, before the suspect was killed by a probation officer.

“Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. was walking to his car outside the Jefferson County Courthouse along what’s known as Courthouse Alley in Steubenville, Ohio, when he was shot, The Associated Press reports.

“Prosecutors say the gunman was the father of one of the two Steubenville High School football players convicted of rape in 2012.

“Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin named Nathaniel Richmond as the shooter. He is the father of Ma’Lik Richmond, who served 10 months at a juvenile detention center after being convicted with a co-defendant of raping a passed-out 16-year-old girl at a party.

“A visiting judge from another county handled most of the rape case, not Bruzzese, according to the AP….”

I suppose that the judge’s connection with Mr. Richmond’s son may be a motive. But that is merely an assumption.

The younger Richmond’s legal trouble started in 2012. Trial transcripts say that two high school students, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, and two other football players, took a 16-year-old girl to two parties. She was intoxicated, and lost consciousness at some point.

We can be reasonably sure that she was raped, since the high schoolers took photographs of their activities. Some of the photos were subsequently shared on social media, along with less-than-kindly comments.

I think that rape is a bad idea. In addition to physical effects, it hurts the victim psychologically. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2356)

I do not think committing such an act is good for the attacker, either.

But as I said before, I do not know why Nathaniel Richmond opened fire, wounding a judge. Thinking that the judge was the intended target, and that Mr. Richmond’s son’s conviction is involved seems like a reasonable assumption. But it is an assumption.

I hope that investigators will piece together what Mr. Richmond had in mind, if only for the sake of letting folks in the Steubenville, Ohio, area know why this happened.

It may, eventually, help some to start thinking about the events. That might help reduce the odds that we will see more needless suffering.

Life and Love

Whatever his motive, I am sorry that Mr. Richmond is dead. That’s because I think human life is valuable: all human life. (Catechism, 2258, 2267, 2270, 2277)

That does not mean that I think the people who returned fire, killing Mr. Richmond, committed murder.

Valuing human life does not mean that I think folks should not protect human life. Even if the death of an attacker is an unintended or secondary result. (Catechism, 22632267)

I talked about this last week, after a vehicular homicide in Charlottesville, Virginia. (August 14, 2017)

There is a great deal more to say about life, respect, and thinking about our actions. But that will wait for another post.

I say this a lot, but it warrants repeating. I should love God, love my neighbors, and see everybody as my neighbor. (Matthew 5:4344, 22:3640; Mark 12:2831; Luke 6:31 10:2527, 2937; Catechism, 1789)

That’s not even close to thinking that I should constantly feel sentimental. And that’s another topic. Topics:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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