In the early reports, someone described him as a “lost pound puppy.”
Since then I’ve read more about Robert Hawkins. The story of this troubled young man has gripped me with its sadness, its profound emptiness and its acute and undeniable commentary on life in this our 21st century. On Wednesday, appearing quite calm, he took the elevator to the third floor of the Von Maur department store in Omaha, Nebraska, where he opened fire with a stolen AK-47 automatic rifle, killing 8 people and wounding 5 others. He then took his own life.
Picture from photographer Dave Weaver of the Associated Press.
…“a pound puppy…” He wrestled through life; had been removed from his family, placed in foster homes, treated for psychological problems, and, finally had become a ward of the state.
A few days ago he was fired from his job at McDonald’s. He broke up with his girlfriend.
On Tuesday night, he showed the weapon to his landlady who didn’t pay much attention to him even then, although she admits to knowing he was depressed.
An hour before the shooting he called his landlady to tell her of a suicide note he was leaving.
“I’m sorry for everything.”
“I will no longer be a burden on my family.”
And finally, “Now, I’ll be famous.”
Poor puppy. Poor ” lost pound puppy.”
Jesus spoke to the condition in Luke 13:34:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”
As children of God who are doing our best to gather people to Him and to spread the Good News, all we can do is to look directly into the eye of those whom we pass in the street and against whom we jostle in the mall. Perhaps–probably–there is another “lost pound puppy.” Maybe we can save him from fame.
Edit Friday evening:
Transcription of Hawkins’ Suicide Note
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Omaha Police Department on Friday released a three-page suicide note left by Robert A. Hawkins, the 19-year-old who fatally shot eight people at an Omaha shopping mall before turning the gun on himself Wednesday.
The note is transcribed below, including misspellings but with expletives deleted:
I’m so sorry for what I’ve put you through I never meant to hurt all of you so much and I don’t blame any one of you for disowning me I just can’t be a burden to you and my friends any longer You are all better off without me. I’m so sorry for this.
I’ve just snapped I can’t take this meaningless existence anymore I’ve been a constant disappointment and that trend would have only continued. just remember the good times we had together
I love you mommy
I love you dad
I love you Kira
I love you Valancia
I love you Cynthia
I love you Zach
I love you Cayla
I love you Mark (P.S. I’m really sorry)
To all of my friends I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to you and put you through. I’ve been a peice of (expletive) my entire life it seems this is my only option. I know everyone will remember me as some sort of monster but please understand that I just don’t want to be a burden on the ones that I care for my entire life. I just want to take a few peices of (expletive) with me. I love all of you so much and I don’t want anyone to miss me just think about how much better you are off without me to support. I want my friends to remember all the good times we had together. Just think tho I’m gonna be (expletive) famous. You guys have always been there for me I’m just sad that I’m gonna have to go this alone. You guys are the best friends anyone could ever ask for. That’s all I have to say is that I (expletive) you guys.
P.S. I didn’t eat that (expletive) sandwich or the toielet thing either!
I’m giving my car back to my mom and my friends can have whatever else I leave behind
Signed (Hawkins’ signature)
Social (his Social Security number)