03/13/08 — 17 ... and lost: Shocking really, that Carson’s killer was likely a teenager

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17 ... and lost: Shocking really, that Carson’s killer was likely a teenager

Eve Carson could have been anyone’s child — alone on a college campus, walking on a local street, going about her business oblivious to the world around her.

The young woman who had a gun pointed to her head could have been from any county, any state, any community.

That’s why her death has made so many stop, think and weep. There is reason to be so sad about a young life lost so young.

But there is another cause for concern and pause when you look at the Eve Carson murder case.

One of the men who likely pulled the trigger was 17 years old. The other was just 21.

Can you imagine a child so full of hate already that he could pull a gun out and shoot someone in cold blood?

Can you imagine a teenager so lost that his life is over before it even starts?

There is no room for sympathy for so cold-blooded a killer — someone so heartless that he could execute a young woman so callously and then drive off to try to use her ATM card. Then, to be caught on camera twice using the card — seemingly unconcerned about the life just taken — is nothing but heinous.

But even in that horror is tragedy — a childish mistake for a very adult crime. These were not professionals — not yet, anyway. These were lost young men headed down a path of destruction that they were likely as oblivious to as the young woman whose life they stole.

Over the next few months, we will probably learn more about Lawrence Alvin Lovette Jr. and Demario James Atwater — each someone’s hope, someone’s little boy.

And now, monsters.

There is tragedy in the loss of Eve Carson to the UNC community. Who knows what kind of contributions she could have made to her school and to her country if she had had the chance to grow up and to move out into the world.

We will never know what she could have been.

The loss for her family has to be tremendous. There is not a parent out there who does not understand what kind of pain losing your child must cause.

But there is reason for sadness, too, for two young men whose lives are over, too.

Not mercy. Just sadness.

It almost makes you wonder what Eve Carson would have wanted — what would have struck her about this crime had she been an observer rather than a victim.

It is likely — if what her friends say about her is true — that she would have wondered about those among her generation who take the wrong paths, who make choices that change their lives forever. She might even have tried to reach out to a child in need — to keep him or her from following that same path.

Her death should leave us wondering what to do to make sure we don’t lose any more of our best and brightest — and to find a way to save some of those we lose to crime, gangs and drugs every day.

It would be an appropriate tribute to a young woman who spent so much of her time making her community a better place and reaching out to help others.

Published in Editorials on March 13, 2008 11:52 AM