Police chaplain Philip Bacon has consoled the family members of murder victims for many years. When I asked him about the effect of murder on a family, he told me,
Murder not only ends a life prematurely, it devastates the surviving
family members. There is no time to say [goodbye,] thus shattering
any sense of peace between family and victim.
Surviving family members are suddenly thrust into a new and
frightening world. They must now deal face-to-face with the police
and the criminal justice system. Additionally, survivors often ques-
tion their spiritual and theological framework. Where was God in
this violent, senseless act?
Even after the funeral, the trial, and sentencing, for the survivors,
it isn't over. From the moment they receive the horrible news of the
murder of their loved one, their lives are permanently altered. The
wounds to the soul never quite heal.1
As chaplain Bacon points out, while the family members of a murder victim will almost certainly find their lives altered forever, fortunately they can seek assistance through individuals such as chaplain Bacon or through the various programs talked about in the previous chapter. However, the murder victims themselves don't have this opportunity.