John Thuesen walks into a courtroom each day. He's wearing a suit and tie. He's quiet, largely stoic. He'll watch the images put on the wall for all to see. He occassionally watches the witnesses. Most of the time, he's staring straight ahead or down at the table where he sits, right hand on his face.
He is a killer...which adds emotional weight to all of the above. Every blink of his eyes tells a story.
Many more victims lived than died because of his actions. Every day in court, I sit right behind a pair of parents who had three kids together, two of whom were ripped from them by six bullets.
Less than ten seats down the same row from them are two parents who also had three kids together, one of whom fired those half-dozen shots and will be punished for it.
Every person who knew Travis Joiner, Rachel Joiner and John Thuesen are victims of this crime. None of these people asked for this to happen. Travis and Rachel certainly didn't. A jury will try to decide whether Thuesen did, or whether he, in any way, is a victim in all of this despite his heinous actions.
This trial through one week has hit on so many facets of life and lives. You probably know somebody like Rachel, somebody like Travis. They may have met the definitions of "average" and "extraordinary" at the same time. I don't know whether they stood out in a crowd, but they stood out to everyone who knew them, a track athlete and a rocket scientist whose runs and soars through life were cut short.
You've probably at least met a servicemember who has come home from war. If you're close to one, you know what they saw and what they did, and that it probably wasn't pretty.
You may know someone with depression. A large portion of society will suffer from it. Maybe you know someone who's thought about or tried to end their life. That's not pretty either.
And you surely know someone so deeply in love with a person that they can't stand the thought of letting them go. That's often pretty...unless it gets ugly.
Hopefully, you don't know someone disturbed enough on whatever level you choose to believe that they took a life. Hopefully, you don't know someone whose life has been taken. If you do, you're a living victim.
There's been a room full of victims in Bryan this past week. They'll be there for a few more days, gathered to watch what happens to a guy that walks into a courtroom, one foot in front of the other like you and I would. It's a person that sits down at a table and watches his life flash before his eyes.
Because in a flash of six bullets, he ended lives before his eyes. But why?