Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 19:00

That’s the only way to describe news this week that a real-life monster recently walked among us.

On Monday the FBI announced Israel Keyes — who police believe killed Anchorage’s Samantha Koenig, 18, in February — was likely a serial killer. The FBI also said it had recovered caches containing “weapons and other items used to dispose of bodies” that Keyes hid in Eagle River and New York for use in future crimes.

Keyes killed himself on Sunday, Dec. 2 at the Anchorage Jail while awaiting trial for Koenig’s murder.

That this beast used our community as part of his plan to destroy lives and kill innocent people is nauseating enough; the idea he might have planned to use his implements of death here is unspeakable.

There is a presumption of innocence in our country that grants defendants the right to a fair trial in front of a jury of their peers. But someone gives up that right when they end their own life. And based on evidence already released by authorities, it’s not a stretch to say that Israel Keyes was evil personified.

When we come face-to-face with this kind of evil, there’s always a natural instinct to lash out and seek vengeance. In the aftermath of Keyes’ suicide, many people voiced the opinion that they wished he had lived a long, terrible life. Many said he deserved to be put to death for his crimes, or even tortured.

But this instinct to cry for blood — while perfectly natural and certainly understandable — won’t bring anyone closer to forgetting the nightmare of Israel Keyes. Instead, we prefer to say good riddance to bad rubbish. We believe the world can only be a better place without Israel Keyes in it.

Nothing can erase the heinous acts of the demented Mr. Keyes. But through love and forgiveness, we can show that we as a society reject the cruelty he brought into our world. We can show that we value life more than death; that we choose love over hate; that we believe in the power of good in this world and not the depravity of evil.

Instead of dwelling on the enormity of Keyes’ villainy, we should use this brush with darkness to seek out and celebrate the light and joy in our world. We should hug our loved ones extra tight tonight and let them know how much they mean to us. We should take an extra few minutes to visit with friends and neighbors or to call family Outside. We should spread the message of love and peace everywhere we can. We should cherish everything that’s just and pure in our society and focus on hopeful thoughts.

Then we should use that positive energy to fight against the terrible forces that created the madman who once lurked in the dark shadows of our town.

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