On January 31, 2012, 73-year-old Carl Ericsson rang the doorbell of Norman Johnson, a classmate of his from the 1950s. When the elderly Johnson opened the door, Ericsson pulled a .45-caliber pistol from his pocket and shot the homeowner dead.
The coldblooded murder moved Ericsson from one prison to another.
Though the weather was cold in South Dakota that particular Tuesday, the blood in Carl Ericsson’s veins was hot with malice. The senior citizen wasn’t going to let anything stop him from exacting revenge on the man who’d embarrassed him in a high school locker room prank half a century earlier.
Evidently, a jock strap had been put on Ericsson’s head when he was the student sports manager at Madison High School, the same school in which Norman Johnson was a track star. Though Ericsson was embarrassed by the incident, no one else could even remember the practical joke, let alone who put the jock strap on Ericsson’s head in the first place.
In light of the consequences, law enforcement agents and court officials were baffled that a man would carry a grudge over such a trivial matter for such a long time. “I guess it was from something that happened over 50 years ago,” Ericsson told a judge. “It was apparently in my subconscious,” he admitted.
Later in 2012, Ericsson was convicted of second-degree murder in Johnson’s death and sentenced to life in prison. In actuality, the old man had been in a prison of unforgiveness since the incident took place so many years ago. Ericsson lost his self-control and the ability to forgive, which led him to act in anger and revenge. How would Johnson’s life and Ericsson’s life have been different if the latter would have simply abided by the Apostle Paul’s words in Colossians 3:13-14?
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
It’s really sad to think that a man let “goofing off” lead to “guns going off.”
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)