What, if anything, should we think of the life of the 24-year-old bomber in Austin, Texas, who killed himself as police closed in?

The random, serial killings of this man are, unfortunately, by no means unique. But the murders he committed and his suicide got me thinking about his life. Not that I am judging his soul–none of us has a right to do that–and not that I believe his life had no intrinsic meaning–all of our lives do–but, on a human level and from a Catholic perspective, what is the “value” of a young life, perhaps disturbed, who commits such terrorist acts of murder and then kills himself? Would you say his was, sadly, a wasted life, although he may have done some good things earlier in his short time on Earth? What might be the “purpose” of such a human life? Certainly not to make the world a better place by helping people, or even minding his own business and not helping people. It is not my intention to sound harsh or judgmental or appear self-righteous, but I was just wondering on a philosophical and theological level, leaving psychology aside for the while, what meaning the lives of people who become murderers may have?

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Probably too early to think anything until motive is revealed.


I think if he was caught alive I would think more about this. But since he killed himself, the only thoughts I have is let God now handle his soul as he sees fit.
I do want to know more about him and see his picture. I guess just to see his face, not that it would make any difference.

Quick correction, he was a bomber. Blew himself up as SWAT closed in.

I think the value is in what it elicits from others, or rather, what it should elicit from others. Catholics should show compassion for this poor soul who must have been deeply troubled. We should refrain from judging, as you said. And finally it should remind us that we are all susceptible to evil, even if not at the magnitude of his, and that we should repent for the damage we may cause to others, however minor.

When I reflect on incidents like this, I often think back to the magnanimous response one of Larry Nassar’s victims gave in court.

I tend to think of the dual nature of things like this. Without good, there would be no evil. Without sadness, there would not be immense joy. Without careless destruction and hatred, there would not be opportunities for deep compassion and love. So, while his actions did not directly make the world a better place, the fallout and the community’s loving response (say through setting up a GoFundMe) is absolutely for the betterment of society as a whole.



He could’ve faked his death like Murdoc

May his soul rest in peace.


Thanks for the correction; I changed the title. This is a wonderful answer!

The same meaning we all have. To serve God.
Did he succeed in some part? I don’t know all he has done. We are called to pray for our enemies.


“This is obviously a very, very sick individual,” President Trump said. Until more information becomes available, there isn’t really anything else to be said at all, as I see it. Is there going to be an announcement from ISIS or Al Qaeda claiming that the perpetrator was one of theirs? I don’t think we’re expecting that, are we?

I think we, as a culture, failed him and his victims.

I will wait to hear more news about this
24 year old. Did he really blow himself up or did the bomb accidentally go off?
Perhaps he picked it up to throw at the approaching SWAT officers.
I had a feeling he was young and was soon going to be caught because of the frequency these incidents were beginning to occur. The bomber would get careless, which he did when he decided to walk into a store to mail the package not thinking there would be cameras.
I heard he had two roommates which are being questioned.
Why he wanted to harm people or how he picked his victims I do not know.
He was someone’s son so there is a grieving family out there somewhere learning that their son was a murderer.
I am sure his parents are asking the same questions you are asking.
I think he probably watched the Netflix show The Unabomber and wanted to be a copycat. Sadly, I think he did it for the fun of it rather than for a particular ideology but I guess we will wait and see.
I did not once think it was a middle-eastern terrorist. I figured a young white male and possibly a student. I guess we will learn more about him as the day goes on.
My prayers are for the surviving victims and especially the 75 year old woman who is still fighting for her life. And prayers for the families of the two deceased men who were senselessly murdered and their lives cut short. We will never know how they could have impacted the world either. One was a musician.


A good way to put it is that evil is the lack of good. Sadness is the lack of joy.

Absolutely. Well said.

That’s not the ‘purpose’ of any life, according to Christian theology. The ‘purpose’ of our lives is to know God, love Him, and accept the grace He offers.

Whether or not he ‘achieved’ the purpose of life is a question to be left to God. We can hope that, God willing, he repented before dying. If he did, then he did achieve the purpose of his life.

I believe meltzerboy2 is asking the question coming from the Jewish perspective and I believe our purpose or at least one is to make the world a better place.
Please correct me if I am wrong @meltzerboy2.

Actually I’m interested in the Catholic perspective in my OP. But I certainly welcome the Jewish perspective and the human perspective as well.

OK, this is what I wanted to find out. Notice too I placed the word “purpose” in quotations to encourage the expression of differing viewpoints, including the view that people don’t need a purpose since they have intrinsic worth. But the Christian perspective regarding humanity’s purpose is appreciated.

One other point: is it not part of the Christian theology of loving G-d to see G-d in others and treat them accordingly?

I think it is sad we haven’t found ways to successfully care for the mentally ill. This poor sou l was a tortured one. And now his victims have had to pay the price, and their loved ones. It is all very sad.

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That it was hard, there is life after death, and he needs prayers. Could some of you please consider him when praying the rosary this week?

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We should have brought a bigger mop…

I think I’ll pass. It’d probably be more appropriate to pray for the people he spread all over the landscape than him.

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