You might roll your eyes and think I am a drama-queen, but I am pretty sure a serial killer considered murdering me. No kidding…
I have mentioned before that I do not sit behind a desk. I am a skilled machinery operator in a plant where some of the jobs are entry level or minimally experienced positions. In these positions there has been a high rate of turnover and management has not been picky about who they hire.
I have worked with all kinds of rough characters in my time on the job, many of them criminals. This list will look like an exaggeration, but weirdly, it is not. I have punched the clock with petty thieves, gang members, drug users, drug dealers, robbers, a con man, at least one child molester, and two wife beaters (that I know of). One of the guys(apparently a drug dealer) was cuffed and taken away in the middle of our workday. On another day, my assistant showed up around his normal starting time without a shirt. He told me he caught a guy with his wife and beat him up. I threw him an old shirt and told him to leave. The cops came looking for him a few hours later. Turns out it was his wife he beat up! Yeah. And I gave him a shirt! Not my greatest moment.
Another time, a different assistant of mine was not working out at all. After he was relegated back to his old duties, he told one of my bosses he should 2×4 me. Now, I had not heard of this expression before but I am pretty sure being 2x4ed would not go well for me. He was fired that day, but inexplicably, they hired him back a few months later when they were in a bind. You think I am making this up, don’t you?
The worst by far was a man named Richard Paul White who murdered six people in the 2,000s. He worked in our shop for about three months, and if we figured it right, two of his victims were murdered during that time span.
He confronted me one day after I had mentioned to the bosses that one of the machine operators he was supposed to be helping was not getting the assistance he required, which was affecting our production. He was supposed to assist on two machines. It was not really a slam on RP, as he was called (he was actually a hard worker), just an observation that he favored one machine over the other. The bosses had a talk with him to straighten that out but RP was definitely mad.
He was an intelligent man and when he confronted me he was not volatile at all. He didn’t raise his voice. He just asked me directly, with a touch of anger in his eyes, what had happened. I calmly told him. He listened, then walked away, obviously not sure what to do or say. A year or so later, after we heard he had been arrested for murdering six people, I wondered if he had considered killing me the day we had that stand-off. Considering he was in the middle of a streak of murders at the time, it seems likely to me.
Sometimes the owners would know of an applicants crimes before they were hired. One of the owners would often tell me that he thinks everyone deserves a second chance. I don’t believe that is true, though. Everyone does not deserve a second chance, not that we shouldn’t offer one to people anyway.
I want to be very careful with that word, “deserve”. It belongs to God. It is up to Him and Him alone to decide what we deserve, and it appears that His judgement is that we deserve what Jesus got. Wife beaters and us, child molesters and us, serial killers and us; we all deserve what Jesus got.
Does it offend you that I lumped you in with the worst of humanity? There is a giant difference between their heinous crimes and our sins, right? Not according to Jesus. He said anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart. He said that men who are angry with their brother are just as much under judgement as those who kill him.
The truth is, working with and getting to know such a wide assortment of people has given me a different perspective than most. Not that the crimes of these awful men don’t sadden me to my core, and anger me just as deeply, but I don’t look at criminals as soul-less anymore. They too are people, and, no matter how much I may want it to be untrue, I can’t get away from the knowledge that God loves these people enough to send His son to pay the penalty for their detestable crimes.
But God decides what is detestable and my lust, jealousy, and anger qualify. Which means we are all in the same boat. Billy Graham and Mother Theresa on one side, Jack the Ripper on the other, with me in the middle. All of us need saving.