I was surprised and intrigued to see the Cannon Falls Educational Foundation sponsoring the Ed Thomas Family Foundation, whose purpose is continuing the legacy of Ed Thomas and "more importantly, spreading the message of God's word."
Aaron Thomas, the son of Ed Thomas, ended his presentation with "God Bless You" - and didn't take questions. People lined up with book under arm and $20 in hand. And I was inspired, too... by how Ed Thomas took action - from buying cleats for players in poverty, to knocking on doors to boost student participation.
But I wasn't inspired by how the story was manipulated. Mark Becker, the young man who killed Ed Thomas, was not "distraught" as the promotional material claimed. Becker suffered from years of schizophrenia in a clear and escalating pattern of unpredictable delusions and violence. Just three days before, Becker smashed a random house with a baseball bat, claiming the owner was hypnotizing neighborhood children with a teddy bear.
Mark Becker was convicted of murder... barely... and unjustly, which necessarily blessed the already written narrative of a good man murdered by evil. But Ed Thomas was no more murdered by evil than were the eight neighbors of Ed Thomas murdered a year earlier by a tornado.
The narrative also suggested that God inspired Aaron Thomas to bring understanding and compassion to the Becker family. But did he, if he never brought such virtues to Mark Becker? A year afterward, Aaron Thomas publicly addressed Becker, staring at him, "The devil tyrant arrived that morning, ready to complete his well thought out plan to viciously murder an innocent unarmed man who stood for everything the devil tyrant Mark Becker was not. This was the action of not only a coward, but the action of a heartless murderer who did the work of the devil that day."
I believe Joan Becker, Mark's mom, responded more honestly... and also offered the better opportunity for understanding and compassion, "Ed Thomas was the victim of a victim... our son Mark would never have taken the life of another person in his sane mind."