“BTK” Captured: Wichita Eagle | 02/27/2005 |

Wichita Eagle 02/27/2005 Park City man held in 17-year killing spree

I grew up in Wichita. I lived there from 1974 through 1992, which overlapped exactly with the reign of terror that was BTK. Sometimes, my sister and I would play a childish (and cruel) game with each other whenever we heard one of those strange, misty noises in the night. We’d take turns telling each other that it was BTK just outside our home. Some days, in the early 80’s, we didn’t have to suggest it very loudly before each of us believed it–right to our souls.

Police now have captured Dennis Rader, whom they say is responsible for the BTK murders, and I have to tell you, that he looks nothing like how I pictured him. He looks like. . .everyman, and that’s just the problem. In his book Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Don Miller relates a tale of a friend reflecting on the genocide taking place in an African country, and his friend asking whether he (Don Miller) was capable of such a thing. The quick answer was “No!” but as his friend pressed him on the implications of his answer, Miller reflects:

“Tony had me on this one. If I answered his question by saying yes, I could commit those atrocities, that would make me evil, but if I answered no, it would suggest I believed I am better evolved than some of the men in the Congo. And then I would have some explaining to do.”

That’s the crux of the problem of sin (not just the problem of evil–that’s too easy for us to get out from under: “Oh, I’m not evil.”). Each and every one of us has it within us to be a thief, a liar, a murderer. That’s the point of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:21-23

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to his brother ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

It’s all within us. Any of us could be BTK. Don’t believe me? ask those he worked with. Ask those at his church. Ask his pastor.

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