“A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.”
Almost ten years has passed since a man known as the BTK (“bind, torture, kill”) Killer was sentenced to 175 years in prison. Dennis Rader, who for years had eluded police in Wichita, Kansas, even as he taunted them through a string of brutal murders, could not, legally, have received a tougher sentence.
It is sometimes as difficult to take to heart some of the sentiment of the Psalms as it is tough to stomach wholesale Old Testament blood-letting. Honestly, I have to think long and hard today to come up with people I’d associate—or certainly brand—with the word “wicked.”
But Dennis Rader is one of them, a serial murderer who carried out demonic crimes over a thirty-year period, while playing an evil game of cat and mouse with police. Married, with two children, Dennis Rader was a city official who enforced zoning and neighborhood codes and an active member of a local church, where he had been elected the congregation’s president.
He’d served his country in the Air Force, did time in Vietnam. Dennis Rader was a Jekyl/Hyde, someone occasionally characterized as so nondescript that his being BTK seemed absolutely impossible to those who knew him. Would they were right. In his home, police found folders of news clippings proudly documenting his crimes.
In a rambling 20-minute statement at the end of the trial, Rader thanked his defense team, his social worker, the members of the jail staff, and his pastor. He called the murders “selfish and narcisstic,” and then, shockingly, as if he were, in all truth, the final authority, listed the mistakes the prosecution had made in the case. Madness that rational is just plain evil.
That the wicked Rader will never again walk the streets of Wichita or any town or city is a absolute blessing. One plea on the part of the district attorney was especially memorable. She asked that the judge limit Rader’s access to pictures of animals and humans and that he be prohibited from writing materials, which, she alleged, he would use to continue his fantasies.
It was denied—under First Amendment guidelines. That’s a shame. The world does not need to hear any more about Dennis Rader, even what I’m writing.
I do hope, honestly, that the God he worshipped throughout his life forgives him; and if I know grace at all, I know it’s possible. God’s love vastly surpasses ours.
Maybe in Dennis Rader’s case, what David promises in this verse from Psalm 37 has happened. Really, the initials “BTK” mean almost nothing to most of us today. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see every last detail of the monstrous life of Dennis Rader disappear completely from the earth, just as David promises, just as the Bible says?
King David dreams of a better world, as all of us do, a world without Dennis Raders.
Lord Jesus, he’s saying, come quickly.