Darrell Huckaby - Trying to make sense of killings

One had brown eyes. Captivating, sparkling brown eyes - full of hope and happiness and love for life. The other's eyes appear blue in the pictures, and reflect caring and confidence.

One was a brunette with dark features. The other was blonde and fair. Both were absolutely beautiful.

One was just setting out on her college career. The other was nearing the end of her undergraduate work and preparing for the next step.

Both were Georgia girls. One was from Marietta and a student at Auburn University, long recognized as one of the most student-friendly and beloved college campuses in the South.

One was from Athens - a high school valedictorian - and one of the most respected and accomplished students at UNC, which is one of the most respected colleges in our part of the world.

Both had numerous friends, back at home and at school, who would do anything for them; friends who can't say enough good things about them. Friends with whom this very weekend, each young woman should be laughing and playing and enjoying life the way only college students with the rest of their lives before them can enjoy life.

But neither will have that opportunity. Neither has her life in front of her anymore. Both had their lives snatched from them, tragically and senselessly and shockingly.

And why?

Even if we eventually learn some reason, it won't make sense. It is impossible to make sense of the senseless.

On Wednesday it was reported that Lauren Burk, a recent graduate of Wheeler High School in Cobb County, had been found on the side of a road not far from the Auburn campus with a bullet in her chest. She died soon after. The burning remains of her car were found shortly afterward.

Cold chills shot through me when I saw Lauren Burk's picture on the Internet and read of her murder. She could have been anybody's daughter, including mine, and my thoughts and prayers immediately went out to her family and friends - and I am not ashamed to say that, even though I didn't know her, I shed tears on her behalf.

And then less than 24 hours later I received the news that Eve Carson, a senior at the University of North Carolina and been brutally murdered as well. Her stolen car was also found soon after her abandoned body was discovered - and my heart broke all over again.

What must it be like to get that news? How do you cope? How do you even comprehend? What kind of person would do such a thing? What kind of world do we now live in that such innocent young women become victims of such a heinous crime?

More questions that can never be answered.

I have two daughters and a son. I worry about their well-being constantly. One of my daughters is a sophomore in high school and I can still keep pretty close tabs on her - with the emphasis on pretty close. My son is a college freshman - the same age and of the same graduating class as Lauren Burk. My older daughter is 22, the same age as Eve Carson, and a pharmacy school student at UGA. I worry about my children constantly, just as all parents do.

Lots of things can happen to young men and women who are on their own at college. The fear of automobile accidents and that middle of the night phone call are never far from one's mind. But we teach our kids and talk to our kids and warn them to be careful and let them live their lives - which is the only thing we can do.

And then we hear breaking news from Blacksburg, Va., and DeKalb, Ill., and we follow the story of Meredith Emerson and others and new fears creep into the backs of our minds, fears that our own children will encounter some random crazy person who might steal that most precious gift of life - but we never allow ourselves to believe that such a thing will actually happen.

This week it did happen - not once, but twice, and close to home. Far too close to home for comfort. Back-to-back tragedies that seem to be totally incidental and totally random and totally unconnected.

And yet we turn on the television news or open the morning paper and there they are together - two beautiful young women who will forever be connected in our collective hearts and minds; two senseless, tragic acts of violence - and all we can do is wonder why and pray that there will not be a third, and that the monsters who stole these two wonderful people's lives will be caught and punished, although I can't think of a punishment bad enough.

Lauren Burk. Eve Carson.

Please don't forget them or their loved ones.


Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.