Serial killer Paul Dennis Reid, Jr. died today from complications of pneumonia; the death row inmate with seven death sentences has once again made the news. What is not making the news are those he left behind: those murdered in such a cowardly fashion, their families, and friends.
Crime has what is called a "ripple effect." It is akin to throwing a rock into a pond and watching the ripples, which grow larger as they are farther from the rock. The murders and brutal attempted murder of one man affected the victims, their families, friends, schools, workplaces, businesses, communities, the cities and the state. As Paul Reid began to give press conferences from behind bars, his family members petitioning to spare his life, his case took on an international interest with those arguing either for or against the death penalty.
What happens in the legal system, in between the charges to the appeals, is the status of those left in the "closer ripples." The families, friends, and loved ones feel left behind, forgotten, and lost; they become members of a club no one wants to join. They are not just crime victims, but "crime survivors." Their stories are lost in an effort to get "the story" on the perpetrator, except for a lurid sound bite on the news or responding to "how do you feel?" When the perpetrator makes headlines.
So in closing a chapter on Paul Reid, and his killing spree across Nashville in 1997, here is what he truly left behind ... they were not just "victims;" they are loved ones.
(Not shown: Jose Gonzalez, survivor)
Photo of J. Yates credit