[Current Events/Opinion] The Downward Spiral: Manhunt For Steve Stephens Ends As Expected, Leaving Questions Unanswered [Written by Shae McCoy]

 Does Steve Stephens’ actions classify him as mentally ill or just a coward?

Image source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/cleveland-facebook-shooting-live-updates-10239941

The events of April 16, 2017, will be stuck in the heads of some Cleveland residents forever, while the rest of the world will forget it after a while, or will they?  On Easter Sunday, Stephens did the unthinkable as he committed the murder of Robert Godwin, a grandfather of 14. Stephens used the Facebook live feature as a way express his frustrations and to show the gruesome footage of his crime. As much as death is displayed on social media, this video still served as a shock to people on all platforms from all around the states.

The video is too mentally bothersome to post so I will save you the graphics. In the video Stephens was on the phone with someone expressing his frustrations and then claiming to have already killed 13 people. There was only confirmation of him killing Godwin. Before he took Godwin’s life, Stephen’s asked him to say the name of his girlfriend, Joy Lane. He went on to say that “she’s the reason this is about to happen to you.” I think that from that comment alone the blame was redirected.

So, who is to blame for Stephen’s heinous crime?

Everyone is pointing a finger but they aren’t pointing it in the right direction. It was rumored that his actions were fueled by a breakup with his ex-girlfriend, Joy Lane. That reason was not confirmed, but from the video itself, you can see who Stephens blamed. I saw posts all over the media that disrespected her as if she committed the crime herself. Why couldn’t he just be sensitive to rejection and not know how to handle his emotions correctly? That’s if she even was the core reason for his antics. I’ve been reading for the past few days and haven’t really seen her name come up but a few times. People didn’t want the details to come out, they just went by what everyone else was saying.  Joy is not to blame, Steve is/was a grown man that should be held accountable for his actions.

Mental Illness or Cowardly Act?

I would say that the actions of Stephens would fit both categories, more cowardly than mentally ill though. Nowadays we seem to pin the mental illness description on every crime when in all honesty, some of the people who commit crimes are just cowards. They’ve been rejected, disappointed, or in some way disrespected and don’t know where to place their frustration. This spills into the mental illness category because you have to be some kind of fucked up in the head to be able to walk up to a person that you don’t know and take their life on the account of your own emotions, an elderly man at that. No one is safe on the streets anymore and it is quite unfortunate.

What Do I Want To Know?

  • The reason behind the crime? (it still doesn’t seem clear to me)
  • Why the crime was questioned as real or fake? (Facebook conspiracies got me wondering)
  • Why are there memes going around making fun and light of the situation? (This shit was so serious)
  • Why was Robert Godwin’s history brought up? (would it make the situation better or worse?)
  • Why is Facebook live still a feature when so much dumb shit has been done and witnessed on it?

To return back to the story, the manhunt ended as I expected. There were reports that he was seen in a few places including Pennsylvania and Baltimore. I think at this point people were just reporting anything to be included. Almost 48 hours after killing Godwin, Stephens was spotted in Erie, PA. at a McDonalds of all places. I guess he just thought that it wasn’t all on television or on billboards. McDonald’s workers tried to stall him as long as they could. He got away and shortly after he departed he was pursued by the cops. The pursuit was brief as Stephens proceeded to take his own life. Now two families are left with nothing but unanswered questions.