One question: Why?

January 08, 2003 11:00 pm

Edward Morris, captured in Baker City Saturday in the parking lot of Rite Aid.

Christian Longo, captured at a resort in Mexico.

Robert Bryant, dead by his own hand.

Three Oregon fathers with eerie similarities.

Supposedly powerful faiths in God — Longo and Bryant had been Jehovah's Witnesses; Morris' father says that, for his son, the word of God was first, his family second.

Entrepreneurial spirits — all three had started businesses, with varying degrees of success. All three had their financial struggles and debts, and large families to care for.

Killers — Longo is in jail in Newport charged with the deaths of his wife and three children in December 2001. Last February, Bryant apparently killed his wife and four children at point-blank range with a shotgun before turning the weapon on himself. Morris is accused of killing his pregnant wife and three children in the Coast Range two weeks ago.

Horrific crimes arouse indignation in the general populace. We want to sympathize with the victims, but it's almost impossible. Murdering your entire family is incomprehensible. It's inhuman.

That three men may have done so in Oregon in the past year makes you want more than punishment. You want an explanation. You know, intuitively, that something wasn't right with these men to lead to such terrible wrongs.