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Man Contemplates Killing His Daughter's Rapist

In the fall of 2002, Rick Garmon's daughter, Katie, became a victim of date rape. She was 18-years-old at the time and a freshman in college. Too humiliated to speak about what had happened—even with her family—Katie switched schools and attempted to move on with her life.

However, the scars of that traumatic event began to fester. Over the next 14 months, she withdrew from her family and friends. She developed an eating disorder and began losing weight. Finally confronted by her mother, Julie, Katie confessed the truth. Fortunately, after a year of fervent prayer and support, Katie was able to overcome the pain and return to a normal life.

Unfortunately, Katie was not the only one struggling with inner-demons during that year. Her father was fighting his own battle against the desire for revenge at any cost. In fact, as soon as he heard the news, Rick Garmon developed a plan to kill the man who had so deeply wounded his daughter:

I pulled back from Julie and everybody else. Get up, go to work, think about the plan, try to forget, go home, try to go to sleep, dream the plan. I plotted to drive through the campus and use my Smith and Wesson .243 caliber, bolt-action rifle…. I'd sit in the parking lot as long as necessary until he walked by. Then I could get it out of my head, and Katie could start eating again.

Katie came home for the weekend two months after the truth came out. It tore me up to see her. She and I didn't talk much anymore. I missed watching the Atlanta Braves with her. I missed laughing with her. I just plain missed her….

Julie tried to tempt her with a great meal on Saturday. Sitting across from Katie, I kept my eyes on my food. It felt as though we lived in a funeral home. The only sounds were clanking of silverware and the clinking of ice. I couldn't take the phoniness. I slammed my chair to the table and took off to my room in the basement. I'd spent a lot of time down there in my getaway room of guns and the sports channel. Methodically, I started cleaning the rifle I'd use.

Then I heard [my son] Thomas trotting downstairs. "Whatcha doing, Dad?" I kept on cleaning and never looked at him. I rocked in my recliner with the gun across my lap.

"Can I help you clean?" I didn't say a word. "You going hunting?" I looked up at him, his eyes so brown they looked almost black, just like mine. He stood inches from my knees. His hair, cut to match a G. I. Joe flattop, just like mine. I kept my gaze on my son and moved the red rag around in circles.

Our eyes met. Thomas's eyes brimmed with tears. He knows. Dear, God. I think my son knows my plan.

I stopped polishing the gun and laid it on the floor by the chair. "Come here, boy. Give your daddy a hug." He wrapped his arms around me tight as a cobra. Thomas's love was somehow stronger than my hatred. His hug began to crumble my rage like a sledgehammer breaking a wall. Chip by chip.

Sweet Jesus, what have I been thinking? My job's not finished. Forgive me. Thomas isn't raised. If I go to jail, he won't have a father. God, help me.

Locking the gun in the cabinet, I made a choice to forgive. God, I gotta let go of this hate. It's killing me. The decision started in my head, not from any feeling. Swallowing back tears, Thomas and I walked upstairs together, my arm on his shoulder.

I came so close.

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