I just finished reading “True Story” – about the Christian Longo murders. It is a fascinating account of a disturbed individual. Longo had a tremendous potential to build a good life but also a great capacity to ruin it. Some people, put in certain circumstances, will commit murder, obviously. But what if those people are never confronted with those circumstances? I believe Longo was on a collision course that was fueled mostly by his blind desire to get what he wanted no matter what deceptions he had to perpetrate.
Longo apparently was very intelligent, hard-working, charismatic and, ultimately, evil. I didn’t get the sense that Longo was pushed over the edge by his disfellowshipping or any cause directly attributable to being a Witness, though that had been my pre-conceived expectation. I was looking for the causal relationship and found only this: Longo was ambitious, intellectually curious, and driven by a need to be seen as a “king” in his family’s eyes, mainly by providing them a generous lifestyle. Up to a point, these are characteristics that are valued by society. But in Longo, these needs were exaggerated. In fact, it would seem that nothing less was tolerable to him.
Longo was smart, personable and good-looking, but was teased in school and not allowed to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities because of being a JW. His parents were on the upper end of strict. With no college carrot dangled, his academic motivation plummeted. Limited by only a high-school education, married at 19, the responsibilities of an elder, and with three children by the time he was 25, he still did well. He had a good job, and worked his way up with generous promotions a salary to match. But the job required more and more travel, and long weeks away from home. He quit the job to spend more time with family and to fulfill his ministerial duties. This seemed to be his undoing, as it turned out. He started his own business, successful but undercapitalized and eventually his efforts to keep all the balls in the air sent him spiraling into blundering desperation. His primary flaw was being a compulsive liar. But he became a thief and ultimately, a heinous murderer. But one wonders – what course could his life have taken if his intellectual and sexual drives had not been thwarted by WTS dictates?