Monday, October 31, 2011

R.I.P. Christopher Ryan Smith

I was, for a while, so perplexed about this ... person ... that I didn't know if I wanted to blog about him. I didn't know if I wanted to add more words onto the internet about this man, who saddens me and angers me in turns.

I thought about it for a while. I talked to my mother about it. (She was at my place for the past two nights. I put her (and all seventy pounds of her luggage) into a cab this morning, packing her off to our hometown of Jeonju (전주)). I dwelt on it for longer than would be considered healthy. And I decided to write about it.

Writing and blogging is, in my opinion, one of the healthiest ways to express one's viewpoint. I like writing because nobody interrupts me; nobody can interject and make me lose my train of thought. I can go back and revise (though I rarely do). I can write something up, save it, and re-read it before posting. I can put as little or as much thought as I want into a blog post. Don't come back and yell at me if you have a fanatical point of view and put it up on the internet, though. People will always respond to fanaticism with a corresponding amount of vitriol.

So, here goes!

I remember seeing his picture, though I couldn't say where or when that was (I think it was while I was in Korea, and I think it was via Twitter). I remember thinking, what a ding-dong, and moving along with my day. There are a lot of news articles that enter my brain in snippets, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and the internet.

This particular case was about a murder. I only recalled the case very vaguely until my mother told me about it yesterday and I investigated it a bit further today, and now my head is reeling.

First off, here's the blog post he wrote on June 23, 2011, just a few short months ago:

For those of you who have known me a long time, you'll agree that my life has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Though most of it was self imposed through a series of bad decisions guided by bad judgment, I can safely say that I am happy to be here. Regardless of the outcome, at the end of the day it's only about two things: 1. Your family and circle of friends and 2. Your faith.

1. My Family. I have three beautiful children, an amazing wife and another baby boy that's due in August. There's nothing more I could ever ask for as a human being other than the salvation of God's grace and His son. My kids are wonderful and despite the challenges of raising three kids that are seven and under, I couldn't imagine ever letting this get away from me as I have tried to let happen before.

2. My Faith. I will publicly admit all of my wrongdoing. I have made many mistakes in life, most of them in business and lot directly against my wife and family. I can't argue that God has blessed me with tremendous talents, but the issue hasn't been about execution or growth. It's been about taking shortcuts and looking for shortcuts when in trouble to get out of it. Additionally I think the whole "isolationist" perspective is not a good one to have. When you are on the top by yourself, it's very lonely and when you are immature and ill equipped to handle conflict because of character and under-developed integrity issues, you make mistakes, and in my case, more often than not. In the end, as I look upon my life and live it with a heavy heart knowing the people that I've hurt along the way, I can only hope to try and rectify everything in some small measure and know that in God's eyes that was good enough and that I'm good enough for him. My salvation through Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift, because no matter what, no matter if you are a hardened killer hanging on the cross just a few hours away from your death or born into a good Christian home whose family guides you to Jesus before you even commit serious sins, we are all people. People worthy of being saved by a higher power who was our Creator. Someone who "so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son..." So yes, I'm sorry. And yes, one day I will make good the best way that I can on the things I've done. I can't say when, but hopefully sooner than later.

The irony of all of this is that I could have chosen a different path or train of thought. However, in the end, I have to accept the fact that it isn't my power that has brought me here to where I can still have my family and love others, it's God's power. So because of that, I will take no credit and only offer my thanks and praise to God.
So. He's pushing the Christianity a bit hard, but nothing that stands out and screams that the author is a complete psychopath, right? I was a little surprised at how remorseful and sentimental the author seemed to be in this post, the only post on his blog, titled Mr. Shincredible. I fully expect that blog to be taken down shortly, which is why I've added the entire blog post above.

Mr. Shincredible is, in fact, Edward Younghoon Shin. He murdered his business partner, Christopher Ryan Smith, and covered it up for a year. A YEAR. There are two articles in the LA Times online, one on September 1, 2011, and the other on September 7, 2011. I am all for "innocent until proven guilty," but the man confessed. He killed his business partner, most likely because he didn't have the $1 million to buy out his partner's half of their marketing business.

I am perfectly aware that one million dollars is a very large amount of money. My life, the average life, is worth far more. To Christopher Ryan Smith's family, Chris is worth much more than one million dollars. They still don't have his body, because Edward Shin hasn't told the police where to find it.

The fact that Edward Shin had enough humanity in him to write that blog post? That's what makes me pity him. The fact that he killed a man because of financial gain? That's what makes me hope he gets a tough prison sentence. The fact that he has four children? That just makes me sad. For his wife, for his kids. Especially for the kids- their only wrongdoing was their inability to choose their own father, after all.

To recap the murder, here's what I've gleaned, sorted chronologically:

May, 2010: Edward Shin is convicted in Riverside of embezzling money. He is fined $700,000 and put on probation.

June 4, 2010 (or thereabouts): Edward Shin kills Christopher Smith and disposes of his body and some of his belongings, including his car.

June, 2010 (post-murder): Edward Shin hijacks Christopher Smith's e-mail account to e-mail Smith's family and friends about going on an African adventure. These e-mails continue for some time.

December, 2010: Edward Shin sends the last forged e-mail from Christopher Smith's e-mail account, telling Smith's family that he's on his way to Congo and Rwanda. This e-mail is vague and probably purposefully worrisome, seemingly because Shin wants Smith's family to believe that Smith died in Africa.
June 23, 2011: Edward Shin writes his only blog post. Possibly feeling the noose tightening as police are investigating him?

August, 2011: Christopher Smith's Range Rover is found in San Jose, about 400 miles from where he was killed.

August 28, 2011: Edward Shin is arrested on board a plane bound for Canada, taken into custody, and confesses to murder.

There's some inconsistencies in information about whether Edward Shin has three children or four (his blog post seems to indicate four, in my opinion, but most news articles seem to say he's a father of three), but regardless, he's definitely married and has kids. According to his blog, his youngest is a boy that was born in August. He's religious, obviously, and attends one of the mega-churches in Southern California that is predominantly Korean and Korean-American. (Reading that Wikipedia article, by the way, may shed some light for those who need examples of the lemming mentality that Koreans have.)

I understand, in my little brain, what might motivate a person to murder someone. Really, I get it. People can be stupid and infuriating, and I've said, "I'm gonna kill him/her" more than once in my life. Some people seem to defy Darwinism, in that I don't understand how they're still alive and breathing.

What I do not understand, will never understand, is actually being able to perform the deed. Can you imagine pointing a gun at someone, a real gun, and pulling the trigger? Holding a knife to someone and applying enough force to literally tear their flesh? I really doubt that, no matter how angry someone makes me, I would be able to do more than hit them (I've never punched anyone in my life, but I have hit people, mostly in jest). I don't think I could even put Visine in someone's drink, much less poison.

I am writing about this because of his blog post. There are murders on a daily basis- an hourly basis. I don't think I've ever read something that a murderer has written before he was incarcerated. I know murderers (and other criminals) tend to write letters and appeals once they're in prison and want support or public understanding or whatever, but I've never seen a criminal's blog, written of their own free will, before the public knew anything about them or their grisly crime(s).

They say (I don't know who "they" is, don't ask me) that people tend to become deeply religious on their deathbed, scared of dying without forgiveness, willing to try and ask for redemption before their bodies give out on them. This blog post seems like that sort of thing. Edward Shin is preemptively confessing his sins, hoping that putting his thoughts out there in the universe will somehow lessen his guilt. He compares himself to the two criminals that were crucified alongside Jesus- though to my knowledge, the two were thieves, not murderers. I'm sure he's hoping that he will be the "good thief," the one who was forgiven by Jesus, rather than the "bad thief," who mocked Jesus to the end.

I'm not going to further dissect this. I like analyzing things, but I have a feeling that dwelling on this for too long isn't going to do good things for my mental health, which is already teetering due to long, blood-sucking hours at work.

It's Halloween in Korea today, which means that it's just another autumn day in Korea today. Sadly, Halloween isn't much of an event here. I only remembered that it was Halloween because I went out with a few co-workers on Friday and I took them to a couple foreigner bars, where people were in (half-hearted) costumes. There was even an apple bobbing tub in one bar, which was a funny thing to introduce to Koreans (they think it's a weird game, which is perfectly understandable).

Nobody is dressed up at work today, and nobody's handing out candy. Sigh.


Lindsey Susolik October 18, 2016 at 9:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous,  October 18, 2016 at 9:47 AM  

can you post the link to Shin's blog? Thank you :)