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)
11 thoughts on “What Price Fame”
Instead of fame, I would rather that his name had been written in the Lamb’s book of life. God help us to save others from this young man’s fate and point them to Jesus.
It is unspeakably sad, Karen.
This story is so sad. One of our UPCI pastor’s wives (Renee Toney-originally from Texas) was in the customer service gift wrap and was the only person to survive out of her immediate co-workers. Her boss told them to run into this closet when the young man stepped off the elevator and started shooting. She was the only one who actually made it into the closet. He killed himself outside her door. It is sad that life means so little to some. One of the greatest treasures that a person can have is hope. Thank God I can say,
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Gene, thank you for sharing the story of Renee Toney. I had not heard that. What a devastating account of this young man. I hurt so at the memory of his life and the plight of his family.
Yes, Christ the solid Rock–one of my favorite songs.
Blessed weekend ahead, I’m sure!
Thank you for your beautiful blogs. I have enjoyed browsing through them so much. You have been an inspiration to me for several years now. I love your outlook on life and your consecration to our Maker. I bless His name.
Janiver, my dear sister, thank you for being here and for commenting on my blog. I know how challenged you are these days, and I do feel honored that you are here. Your recently beginning your blog and it’s faithful remarks have been so refreshing to me. Thank you. I’m binding in prayer with others around the world for your healing.
SPECIAL NOTE TO ALL MY READERS: Janiver is a true Christian, a beautiful woman of God, a pastor’s wife and the mother of four exceptional children. A couple of years ago, she faced surgery for cancer, and in recent weeks, the cancer has returned. It is inoperable, as I understand it, although other medical treatments will be utilized.
Please pray with me for this precious woman. You may also want to read the journal of her progress here.
This is so sad. May God have mercy.
Helen, I can’t think how this story could be any more sad. I weep when I think of that poor young man.
What a tragedy. It seems so many young people are “at risk” today. Hell has it’s mouth wide open and there are many voices in the world. These poor kids are confused, without hope, without direction.
We – the church – have the answer.
God help us to reach the ones You place in our paths.
This time of the year reminds us in its own beautiful way that Jesus truly is the light of the world. If only we do our part to help reveal Him so that young men such as this will come to a better end than did Robert.
This is a sad story. Lord, help us to reach out.
We will be praying for Janiver.
Thank you, Tommyjoe.
As a former foster child, I’ve got to be honest and say that the “lost pound puppy” reference is an inaccurate and offensive description:
But, as a Christian, I thank you for your compassion and your prayers.
Welcome to my blog. Hope you visit here often.
Please forgive me for being offensive, for such a thing was totally inadvertent. I had not a thought that the man who described Robert Hawkins as a lost pound puppy was describing him that way because he had been a foster child. Certainly as I tagged into that line I did not do so because he had been a foster child, but because he was a lost soul.
Lisa, I’m 69 years old now. My husband has pastored churches for many, many years. During those times, I have seen “lost-pound puppies” from both foster care homes, and from seemingly stable two-parent homes. I’m convinced that some of the lost-pound puppy people suffer from some inward emptiness. To expand further, I’ve seen children from foster homes excel and flourish. I’ve seen others struggle. I’ve seen children from Christian homes struggle–others flourish. I’ve seen children from ungodly homes struggle–others flourish.
Again, I had no thought of being offensive. I wish you every blessing and success.
This are the moments when Jesus Christ’s teachings should have worked. If only he has been practicing holiness as being admonished in holy scriptures, he would have an option left, which the very most important of all, God’s Word, God’s truth. Even in the Philippines, we had two suicide news. When people began to have the sense of hopelessness, it is the spirit of God that teaches as, that continually echoes in our mind, because we have always been practicing holiness. Holiness is better than physical execises, though the latter is good, because we have been thought that holiness and love is useful in the everlasting life.
Hope we learn the true hope in Jesus Christ before the moment like this kid had comes to us.
2 Timothy 3:
1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
Let us all hear the voice of wisdom and put it into action. Let us seek it to find it.
20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
she raises her voice in the public squares;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.
24 But since you rejected me when I called
and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,
25 since you ignored all my advice
and would not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you-
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me.
29 Since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the LORD,
30 since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Nevertheless, I have not seen the kids works and just learned of the last things he done. It is still the Father that will judge all men based on what is in their hearts and their works.
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