Making sense of the senseless

Tragic ending to a life well-lived won't make national news

When you can’t make sense of a death, all that remains is to make sense of a life.


Bill DaVitte’s life made a ton of sense.

It was, after all, the life of the 55-year-old husband, father, grandfather, brother, golf buddy, volunteer church caretaker and Augusta native that filled a funeral home to overflowing Tuesday, just days after his senseless murder.

As insane as his killing by an alleged carjacker is, absolutely everything about what Bill DaVitte was doing in his last fateful moments made ultimate sense. He was stopping with his wife to turn on the sprinklers at Marvin United Methodist Church. It doesn’t get much more giving and noble than that. He came running into the line of fire when his wife was attacked and pistol-whipped by the gunman. It doesn’t get braver or more chivalrous than that.

Bill DaVitte’s life made sense. His actions that night, even to his last breath, made supreme sense.

What doesn’t make sense is why anyone would be so cavalier with life, so murderous, and so randomly cold-blooded. What doesn’t make sense is a life spent tormenting those around him – in the case of DaVitte’s alleged killer, at least seven arrests in Jacksonville just since 2011. What doesn’t make sense is why such an upright and devoted family man, citizen and child of God would be put in the path of such evil.

All we can surmise is that free will demands it – that, as Rabbi Harold Kushner hypothesized in When Bad Things Happen to Good People, nature may have to be neutral and ambivalent. Thus may we choose good and eschew evil of our own accord, as opposed to manipulating fate for our desired ends.

Radio host Dennis Prager on Wednesday noted that, while the deceased are in a better place, the rest of us are not. The rest of us are diminished by the demise of a good man.

The death of Bill DaVitte won’t make national news. There won’t be cable crews here with constant updates at the scene. There won’t be mass demonstrations or political pronouncements. Apparently, the killing of a good man by an evil one just isn’t uncommon or outrageous enough.

How sad. And how nonsensical.

Maybe the only thing that makes sense anymore is a life well-lived.

That was Bill DaVitte.

DaVitte family issues statement to thank community
Church shooting details released
Martinez shooting suspect has criminal history
Man killed, wife injured outside Martinez church
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