Woman went to church with an arsonist

Lefty Graves

Church SanctuaryPhoto byPartha NarasimhanonUnsplash

** This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as shared with me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

My friend, Amy, has gone to church all of her life. She’s always cheerful and an inspiration to others. Sometimes, I really worry about Amy; I think she has a false sense of security. The other day she shared with me that she found out that she’d been attending church with an arsonist.

I asked her how close she was to this person, and she told me that she had actually sat behind the person in church a few times. He would sit with his parents and seemed to be participating fully in the service. She went on to say that he seemed like everyone else at church. Safe, and someone that everyone could relate to.

I thought back over the previous year and realized that this was the same arsonist that had terrorized our region for at least six months. In fact, one of my coworkers had been home when the arsonist attacked her home, setting the dining area, where her own daughters slept, ablaze. Thankfully everyone made it out safely, and the fire was extinguished.

A shiver ran down my spine. Apparently, the arsonist wasn’t as clever as he thought he was because his own father wound up turning him in to the authorities of the area. However, my friend told me that she still felt safe around the man because he had attended church.

On one hand, I can see the intrigue of watching flames burn in a campfire. However, I can’t understand willfully setting someone’s house on fire, worse, with people still inside. That screams evil to me.

It gave me a creepy, eerie feeling to think of my friend sitting in church next to an arsonist. As I pondered this, I remembered reading that the average person walks past at least 36 murderers in their lifetime. I wonder if that number might even be higher. I wonder if we interact with a lot of people in our lifetimes that are guilty of something that they haven’t yet been caught or charged with. It’s a scary thought.

I think my friend's sense of security is horribly misplaced. Just because someone attends church doesn’t necessarily make them safe. What do you think? Do you tend to feel safe in situations and then look back and recognize that you might not have been as safe as you thought you were?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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