Processing a Runner’s Murder

Posted on January 10, 2014. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

schnabel

On New Year’s Eve day, 24-year-old Lauren Bump pulled into O.P. Schnabel Park on the west side of San Antonio sometime shortly before 3:00 pm.  I imagine she stood outside of her car and stretched, leaned her body left and right, arms overhead, lengthening her IT bands.  She may have grabbed an ankle, hiked it up behind her, pulled gently, first one side, then the other.

I imagine she found her favorite music on her iPod, stuck her buds in her ears, and took off at a slow and easy pace down the trail, out onto the Salado Greenway. She probably inhaled deeply, looked up into the sky, taking in the sun and birds and tranquility of the trails. It was perfect running weather, mid-50s at 3:00, and she smiled as she settled into her run.

I can imagine all of this because it’s what I would have done had it been me out there running.  It’s what I do each morning I go out for a run, gratefully anticipating the peace and time and space. It’s what I need. What keeps me right with myself, with the world.

Only, now, my peace is gone. Not only can I imagine Lauren setting out for her run, I can also imagine—in horrifying detail—how she must have felt, blindsided by a maniac with a knife slicing away her tranquility, her promise. Her life.

Like the rest of San Antonio and the running community here, I am stunned by Lauren’s brutal murder. In broad daylight. In a public and well-used area. I cannot imagine how her family must be reeling at their loss. I cannot imagine how someone could do such a thing.

And I cannot get past my anger.  Of all the many things associated with Lauren’s murder—I cannot call it her “death,” as that word seems too passive, implying no agent of action to have caused it—to be angry about, I’m not sure which weighs most heavily.

Perhaps it’s that I feel the need to change my way of life, one that I was happy with on December 30.  Maybe it’s that what’s driving the impetus for change is not the desire for self or community improvement, but fear. Nothing angers me more than fear. Usually, its presence makes me want to face its source head-on.  But this time, I feel like I can’t, because it’s not a man I’d be facing. Or a tall building or a nest of spiders or den of snakes.  Rather, the source of my anger is the knowledge that what happened to Lauren could have happened to anyone of us, any time, any place.

I choose to see the best in people because I like to believe that we all have something good and decent within us, that we are all capable of greatness.  I choose to see the promise in humanity.

But all the while, I know there are people out there like the man who murdered Lauren, and I see the flaw in my vision. What do we do with people like him?  I don’t have an answer.  Do you?

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5 Responses to “Processing a Runner’s Murder”

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I feel the same way. I can’t seem to move past it. I didn’t even know Lauren, yet she consumes my thoughts and yes, my anxiety is at an all-time high. I read her last blog post and I know it is all part of a bigger plan-it is just do shocking and hard to comprehend. Lauren really had it all figured out. She was most certainly an angel.

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I share both your and Emily B’s feelings. I know there is probably not much solace in this, but we must pray for Lauren’s attacker, pray for His swift and mighty justice and rejoice in the knowledge that Lauren was/is a believer and is living on in the arms of Jesus. She is rejoicing. Let her last blog be her legacy and a testament to us all.

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Thank you for writing this. I used to work with Lauren and I am having a hard time processing what happened to her. Talking through what I’m feeling with friends and crying it out to God, looking at pictures of her and going to her funeral yesterday have been helping. Especially hearing them read from her blog. I too think through all of the details of what she must have felt that day…that’s how I process it too. I keep thinking that if this has been really hard for me to deal with…I can’t begin to imagine what it has been like for her family and close friends. But I can tell you, that posts like yours are so encouraging to me. Don’t know if you knew her also, but I can’t fully express what it does for me to see people who didn’t know her…so touched by her life and death.
I was reading one of her blogs and she expressed such joy at seeing a beautiful rainbow…I love that about her. Her contagious, radiating joy! I loved how you speculated what her thoughts might have been as she was started her run…I can totally see that! She obviously loved nature. I happened to take a few pictures of the sky on New Year’s eve as I was heading to a movie with my mom. I had never seen such a crazy, tilted sky before. It was pretty cool to behold. When I found out the next day that she was found shortly after I took the picture…seeing the picture has given me such conflicting emotions. But it was the first thing I thought of when I read through her blog…she would have loved seeing that pre-sunset sky! Just now I am thinking and wondering at the moments right after she died. So horrible in her last moments…but I can only imagine what joy she experienced in the moments she entered her new life. As the pastor at her funeral said…her last exhale here was followed by her first inhale in heaven. Her murder, the taking of one so beautiful inside and out, sure does not make sense….but these are just some if my long, rambling thoughts…I am longing for the day that all is made clear…
I totally didn’t come anywhere in the ballpark of answering your question. I have had some of the same thoughts. My sense of trust in good intentions in others is fading… I am determined to not go through life in fear…but of course I am thinking through how I can be safer in everything I do. But I don’t want to just lead a ‘safe life’ where I never put myself put there and help a stranger in need. There is so much hurt and need in this world and sometimes we have to put aside our fears and reach out to help others. So right now I am battling that through in my head. What’s the best balance of this for me? :-/
Thank you again for posting…though I’m afraid I ‘rabbit-trailed’ it a bit in my response…it has been good for me to share thoughts about her with a you, even though I doubt we have ever met…thank you…

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I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your response. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your memories and pain and fear.

I didn’t know Lauren. I just read her final blog post, however, after I posted this, and I cried. I feel like I know a little about her through her words, and the part I see is beautiful.

You did answer my question, in a way. There is beauty and kindness in the world that lives on and through others, and that goodness in others overcomes all else. I still believe in the goodness of humanity and that every person has a purpose. Lauren has reached so many people, in her death as well as life.

So thank YOU for sharing more about her. And yourself.

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🙂 I sure don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t cry or talk (or in this instance, write) it out with others! 😉 It’s sort of like a healing balm on an aching heart. Thank you again…I feel like you are a kindred spirit…

P.S. I randomly started listening to the audio book version of a childhood favorite, Anne of Green Gables, right before I found out about Lauren. It’s amazing how that simple children’s book has helped me to recapture…in a way…the beauty that is around us. Evil is still there, but oh the exquisite beauty around us sometimes…takes my breath away! Evil things are still hiding there alongside it, but it is good to know that ultimately the evil will not win in the end…

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