I apologize for the gloomier tone here but I have to talk about something that hit a little too close to home. 

Less than two weeks ago four people were found shot to death in Liberty, South Carolina.  I admit that the story barely caught my attention until a week after it happened.  The headline was that a family was killed.  The most significant fact was that one of the dead was a former co-worker of mine.  The horror was in the fact that this coworker was believed to have killed his brother, father, step-grandmother and then himself.

I knew Matt Hendricks because I worked with him for about a month this past summer. He was 23 years old and the best way that I could describe him was that he was a good kid.  He was young, energetic and eager to learn. He was biding his time at a glass shop but had just graduated from the welding program at Tri-County Tech and was hoping to pursue a career in that industry.

I left that job this summer and did not speak to Matt again until a month ago.  He had left the glass shop as well and was looking into the world of melting metal.  He knew I had some friends that were welders and I had offered to ask around for him.  Things started to blossom the other day when one of my buddies said his company might be ready to hire someone and he wondered if Matt was still looking for work. The next day I found out that it was too late to ask him. 

I have my strengths and I have my weaknesses but I like to think I am a pretty good judge of character. Naturally, we are bound to misjudge a few people along the way as people are pretty good at masking their flaws and more embarrassing traits.  Truly evil and despicable people cannot hide who they really are, however, and I like to think that I would know it if I worked in the close company of a potential mass murderer.

I refused to believe that Matt was capable of what the news reports were suggesting.

The story made me sick.  I was sad that he was gone. I worried about what whether it might be true.  If it was then how could he do it and how could he completely hide who he really was?  I could not imagine what his remaining family must be going through and what it must be like to lose everyone so tragically.  

Ten days after Matt’s death and the initial report of his role in the murders, the story changed drastically.   On Monday, October 24th police arrested Susan Hendricks for the murder of her son Matt, his brother, their father, and her stepmother.  Initial reports suggest that she did this for insurance money.  Two hours after this story broke in the local news I started seeing national coverage on the incident.  The South Carolina Upstate is on the national stage for all of the wrong reasons.  

I am no longer sad and confused.  I am angry.

I am angry that someone could be so worthless as to value money over the lives of their own children.  I am angry that she not only killed her sons but tried to tarnish my friend’s memory by blaming the act on him.  I am angry that his future was stolen from him.

I cannot sit here and tell you that Matt and I were long time pals. I would be lying if I said I really knew all that much about him. You can only learn so much about a coworker in a month.   I knew him well enough, though. I knew him well enough to know that he deserved better than this.  I know that he was a nice kid who was just wanted to work hard enough to make a better life for himself.  

Matt deserved to live life to the fullest and to make success and opportunities happen for himself. Instead he was murdered and painted as a monster by the one person in the world who is supposed to love and protect him more than anybody else.  His own mother killed him.  I cannot imagine a fate much worse than that.

I am sorry for not posting about something fun to do. I am sorry for leaving out the puns and stupid jokes. I promise that I will have the blog back on track tomorrow. I just wanted to say that people lost their lives too soon and in the most tragic way possible.  I wish I had known Matt better. I wish I had taken him up on his offer to grab a beer one afternoon last month.  I wish he had a decent mother. I wish he was still alive.

Rest in peace, Matt Hendricks. You deserved better.
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