I've been a reporter for more than 16 years and consider myself hardened to most atrocities. I minored in criminology in college because I knew I wanted to cover cops, courts, crimes, criminal justice, lawyers and judges. In doing so, I have seen the horrible things people to do each other and themselves. I often feel jaded, cynical and skeptical.
However, as I drove home from work Tuesday, I had to keep from just letting go and boo-hooing all the way to Fayetteville. I was listening to the radio, to a spokesman for the Jack Hensley family give a press conference and answering questions from the media. Unless you've been living in a cave the last week or two, you know who Jack Hensley is or was. He was a Marietta resident working and living in Iraq as a construction worker when he was snatched from his quarters with two colleagues.
On Tuesday, the Islamic terrorists who kidnapped them murdered Hensley by cutting off his head. His body was found Wednesday and positively identified. One man was already dead and the third will likely be dead by the time you read this.
For months, we've listened and watched in horror as these brutal armed monsters snatched one American after another, made threats and then carried out those threats. But this one hits too close to home. The Hensleys were our neighbors just like the folks we run into filling their carts at the local grocery store or munching down on a sandwich at the local barbecue place. They were the people you share a pew with at church, stand in line with at the tag office, see occasionally at school functions, wave to across the yard.
The previous victims we mourned as Americans. Jack Hensley is mourned as a fellow Georgian and that is too close to home. It will be Georgians who will pick up the pieces of Jack Hensley's family's life now. It will be neighbors, friends and family who will help his wife take care of their fatherless daughter, who will see that they have food and the necessities of life.
They should know our thoughts and prayers are with and for them.
I don't have any answers, I am not a political or military expert, but I know I am mad as hell. I couldn't believe how mad I got when I heard the monsters carried out their threat to kill him unless they got what they wanted. We will never give in to their demands so I can only guess they keep kidnapping innocent people and killing them because they enjoy it and hate anyone who is not like them. How do they live with themselves?
I'd like to know why they wear hoods and masks. If they are so proud of what they are doing, why not show it? Why not admit who they are and take proper credit? If they are doing what they believe to be right, why are they hiding? I also can't understand how they justify killing innocent people with their religious beliefs and wish someone would explain it to me. The God I worship frowns on murder, to say the least.
So I was driving home last week, listening to the family spokesman talk about the Jack Hensley he knew and loved and will forever miss. My heart grew heavy as I tried to imagine what his wife must be feeling, how devastating this must be for her. She doesn't even have the luxury of mourning privately for what she's lost the press will hound her through the return of his body, funeral, burial and aftermath.
What makes my anger so frustrating is that I am helpless to do anything about it. I think President Bush is doing the right thing by not giving in to their demands. Once you give an inch, you can never take it back. The Islamic terrorists must be shown that they cannot and never will have control over us but what do you do? The answer may rest with tighter security for Americans and our allies living and working in Iraq to help the ungrateful rebuild their country. Or getting them out of there all together and making the Iraqis restore their own nation.
Kathy Jefcoats covers cops and courts in Henry County. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .