Time dulls the jagged edges of evil, so we have an obligation to remind one another and teach youngsters so that the acts are not reduced to icons and abstractions. We teach about suffering by victims of Hitler, Stalin and other pogroms for that reason.
We also remember for those who weren't even born that a 14-year-old girl walking home from the spring musical at Belleville West and a 21-year-old nurse's aide stopping at the ATM both disappeared in the late 1970's. A serial rapist and murderer ended their lives and traumatized others.
Gregory A. Bowman is now 62 and awaiting another hearing on whether he should face the death penalty in Missouri for the rape and murder of a third young woman, 16-year-old Velda Rumfelt. The legal system in Illinois failed to keep him locked up for the murders of Elizabeth West and Ruth Ann Jany, and the system in Missouri failed to make the death penalty stick for Rumfelt's killing.
Enter a little cosmic justice: The Missouri death hearing is delayed because Bowman is terminally ill. Bowman's being judged in a higher court, and we who lived through his depravity carry the obligation to remember.