He shot her in the face.
She was one of the lucky ones.
So far, the body count is 9, including the ersatz Santa, with one missing. The 'Psycho Santa' story has been international news, ever since Covina, California, police had to keep the fire department away from a burning house. The police had good reason. Early reports said there were still shots coming from the place, and American police have a duty to protect people: including firefighters.
No 'Former Altar Boy' News Coverage This TimeA decade or so back, the phrase "former altar boy" showed up in the news about as often as "Vietnam veteran" had earlier. Whoever had robbed a liquor store or shot a convenience store clerk would be described as 'John Doe, former altar boy.'
There wasn't any connection between John Doe being Catholic, and a criminal: but that's not the impression left by all those 'criminal suspect, former altar boy' articles. After a few years of outfits like Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights pointing this out, The Associated Press and other news services stopped linking criminality and Catholicism.
It's been a long time since I've seen "former altar boy" as the description of a criminal, and that's fine by me.
Psycho Santa, Those Catholics, and the BlogosphereI'm even more impressed at the lack of anti-Catholic rants (so far) about the Psycho Santa of Covina in the blogosphere.
I so impressed by one post, that I'm copying an excerpt from it:
"An article also noted that Pardo was a devout Catholic, btw. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything other than to point out he seems to have forgotten about 'thou shalt not kill,' or that the civil divorce (there's no report of an annulment, so by his own faith, he was still married in the eyes of the church) somehow sent him over the edge...."Even a blog with posts like "THE CATHOLIC CONNECTION! WHAT DOES A NEW WORLD ORDER HAVE TO DO WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? What do Nazis and Communists Have to do With the Catholic Church?" limited its commentary on the Santa massacre to a factual repeat of what's in the news. (EndrTimes, December 25, 2008, listed below)
("Pam's House Blend" (December 26, 2008))
I'm not feeling the hate - and don't mind a bit.
Many of the holiest (by their standards) people where I grew up hated Catholicism with a passion. Their malignant virtue made quite an impression on me, and is one reason why I converted to Catholicism. It also, I think, helps explain why I'm a bit surprised at not finding a diatribe about Catholicism causing mass murder.
Maybe the sincere, earnest, people who warn us about the 'Queen of Whores' and the Black Pope will leave the Catholic connection to this horrible crime alone.
Psycho Santa: The Catholic ConnectionBruce Jeffrey Pardo had volunteered to be an usher at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church's Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. He didn't make it this year, since he was busy murdering his wife and in-laws, setting fire to their house, blowing up a rental car, and killing himself at the time.
I'm Not Allowed to Judge PardoI have no way of knowing what was going on inside Bruce Jeffrey Pardo's head this Christmas Eve. And I have no business passing judgment on him. That's God's job, not mine. As the Catechism1 puts it, "although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God." (1861)
So, I am allowed to discuss Mr. Pardo's acts, and express opinions about whether they were naughty or nice. 2258), and says: "Do not slay the innocent and the righteous." (2261) It follows that you're not supposed to kill your wife - or husband - even if you're in a bad mood.
Suicide is NaughtyThe Catholic Church has a few words to say about suicide, including:
"Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of." (2280-2283)Short version: I'm not supposed to kill myself. God gave me this life, and wouldn't take kindly to my cutting it short.
The Church's stand on suicide is one that I take rather personally, since I thought about killing myself, briefly, several decades ago. I wasn't Catholic at the time, and what stopped me was what I call Scandinavian thinking. My ancestors out-endured glaciers and dire wolves: therefore, I can outlast a foul mood and a few inconveniences. And, as it turned out, I did.
One more thing:
"We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives." (2283)That's a relief, since a woman who meant a great deal to me killed herself about three decades back, now.
Divorce, Catholic StyleThe Pam's House Blend post impressed me, in part because the author knew the difference between a civil divorce and an annulment. Not everybody, including quite a few Catholics, do.
An annulment isn't a "Catholic divorce," it's an official recognition that a sacramental marriage never existed in the first place (1629)
A Catholic marriage is a pretty big deal. It involves a man and a woman willingly giving themselves to each other in a "permanent, covenantal, exclusive, unconditional, life giving, commitment that unites the couple as a sign of Christ’s love" (An Analysis of Diocesan Marriage Preparation Policies," USCCB).
I've run into arguments that the difficulty that Catholics have, trading in their spouse on a newer model, leads to mental suffering and sometimes murder. Having standards of behavior can be stressful, but I don't see the Church's position as particularly oppressive. People can leave the Roman Catholic Church any time they want, and in America there are few legal restrictions on who lives with who: although not every hookup has the same legal standing as a traditional marriage, yet.
Which is a whole different topic.
Back to Covina's Psycho Santa and the Christmas Eve MassacreMore details - and maybe another body - are being pulled out of the wreckage of the Christmas Eve killings. Bruce Pardo and a girlfriend had a baby around nine years ago. The kid fell in a pool, nearly drowned, and was physically handicapped as a result.
For whatever reason, Pardo bailed on that relationship, didn't support his son, but claimed the kid as a deduction on his income tax for seven years.
Also, Pardo didn't tell the woman he killed Christmas Eve about his son.
She found out, which probably had something to do with her going through with a civil divorce.
In a way, I feel almost sorry for Pardo. He lost a deduction, a wife, and his job - no wonder he was upset. About the job: to get a job as an engineer at Northrop Grumman, it helps to say you have a master's degree in the field. It's even better, if you really do have the degree.
Mr. Prado had been enrolled at USC, but hadn't earned a degree. The Los Angeles Times story doesn't say if that's the reason he lost his job, but it can't have helped.
What with one thing and another, Mr. Prado was under a lot of stress. But that's still not a good excuse for what he did.
A Little Good NewsThe eight-year old girl who was shot by Santa is "doing fine" - all things considered. She's got at least one parent left: her mother has visited her, the LA Times said.
I doubt that she'll ever think of Santa Claus the same way, though.
- "Psycho Santa opens fire at ex in-laws' home, killing 8"
Pam's House Blend (December 26, 2008)
- "Six dead as gun-toting Santa opens fire, kills self"
Arsenio A. Lembert Jr.
EndrTimes (December 25, 2008)
- "Six bodies recovered in Covina 'Santa' rampage"
LA Observed (December 25, 2008)
- "Secret child had divided Covina gunman and his wife"
Los Angeles Times (December 26, 2008)
- "Police Search Burned Killings House"
American Chronicle (December 26, 2008)
- "Man in Santa suit kills at least eight at Covina party, police say"
Newsday.com (December 26, 2008)
- "Police on 'Santa' gunman attack"
BBC (December 26, 2008)
- "Quotations of the day"
International Herald Tribune (December 26, 2008)
- "Pipebomb explodes in car of Christmas Eve attack suspect"
CNN (December 26, 2008)
- " 'Santa' shooting rampage in LA "
Al Jazeera (December 26, 2008)
- "Gunman Kills 8, Self in Los Angeles 'Santa' Massacre"
FOXNews (December 26, 2008)
- "Death toll from Christmas shooting rises to six"
Xinhua (December 26, 2008)
- "Suspected Santa gunman takes life; 8 others dead"
CNN (December 25, 2008)
- "Gunman dressed as Santa Claus was familiar face on block where eight died"
Los Angeles Times (December 25, 2008)
- "ANOTHER 'FORMER ALTAR BOY' STORY"
Catalyst Online (November, 2008)
1 Those numbers in parentheses are references in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church."