More on the Health Club Killer

I was thinking more about the killer at the health club, the one who was mad because he was lonely and couldn’t get a girlfriend. Here’s his diary.

Here was a man who did many of the things that society recommends as coping strategies. I’ve heard people say that if you can’t get a girlfriend, masturbate a lot, and that will relieve you. But this guy masturbated a lot, yet he still killed women at a health club.

I’ve heard people say that we should write as a form of therapy. This man kept a journal. He still killed women at a health club, so writing obviously didn’t cure him.

Some say we should lift weights if we want to release pressure, feel good about ourselves, and become attractive to women. This man did that regularly. He said it made him feel better, but he still couldn’t attract a woman. He also expressed frustration that he couldn’t change. So he took out his pain on women at a health club.

Many claim that belief in God or Jesus will heal a person. This guy believed in both. In fact, he even thought they were unconditionally loving, since he held fast to “Once Saved, Always Saved.” But he didn’t feel better, at least not enough to have second thoughts about conducting a shooting rampage.

Part of me feels that this man was extremely self-centered. For me, a key component of a relationship with God is learning how to love others, or at least to respect them as human beings of worth, like myself. But I didn’t see anything about that in this man’s journal. He could believe that God loved him and showed him grace, but that didn’t lead him to value others.

And yet, the man was capable of empathy. He talks in his journal about how he listened to a radio program, in which an African-American called in to explain why so many black men in the hood committed crimes. The caller said that many poor African-Americans feel life is hopeless, so they decide to go out early, with a bang. The health club killer said the host of the show cut the caller off and made fun of his statement, but that he (the eventual killer) could understand where the caller was coming from. He applied the same logic to his own situation: he had nothing to look forward to in life, so why not go out early, with a bang, taking down the sort of people who had always rejected him–attractive women.

The coping strategies this man tried may work for many of us: writing, exercise, embracing God’s love, etc. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach. But, as I read this man’s diary, I wondered if perhaps a therapist might have helped him. Someone he could see regularly, who’d give him suggestions and assignments, maybe even constructive ways of looking at his situation. Someone who’d listen to him. Someone who would hear about the man’s experiences after he tried to follow the advice, whether they be good or bad.

But the man didn’t mention anything about a therapist. And he probably could have afforded one, since he talked as if he had lots of disposable income.

Overall, the man’s diary confuses me. He sounds like a lucid thinker, a regular guy, someone who faces what many men have to go through. How could he have done what he did?

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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