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TOO MUCH, TOO MUCH
16 April 2013
I get something called "Davis Patch" each day, which highlights one story important to Davis, whether it be something new at the school, or an interesting tidbit or, like yesterday, report of illegal activity. In yesterday's Patch it reported the murder of two people in South Davis. Crimes like this are rare in Davis. You almost never hear of "murder" and "Davis" in the same sentence. In fact, the last murder in Davis was in 2011. I was saddened to read it and wondered, briefly, how close it was to my friend Derrick, the former entertainment editor of the paper. We are having lunch today and I figured I'd ask him about it. I knew that the murder had taken place on his street, and, from the address, probably close to him. I wasn't sure what Derrick's address was, but thought it must be about a block away. I was relieved when the news showed the house where the murders had taken place and could see that it was not Derrick's house.
Still. Murder. In peaceful Davis. Shocking.
I don't remember when it was that I zeroed in on the fact that the pictures being shown on TV from Boston were live and that there had been a bombing. I immediately texted Jeri, who works on Boylston St. not far from the end of the marathon. She immediately wrote back saying she was at work and OK. Ned, at the same time was trying to reach Phil, who called him back while he and I were talking. Phil was on the other side of Boston. Good. Our kids were fine.
That freed me to watch the news coverage without worry about Jeri and Phil. The bomb blast, the horror, the blood on the street. I watched for a long time, until I couldn't watch any more. It had reached that stage where reporters were desperate to find anything to say. It must be terrible to be a reporter during a crisis like this. You can't just cut away to a soft drink commercial, or return to regular programming. You must stay on the scene and report what is happening. But nothing is happening. There is no way to know who planted the bombs, or anything else. But you have to say something, so at some point, "reporting" turns to "speculation" and you hear who might have done it and why they might have done it. They rehash old crimes like this, they show the same clip over and over and over again of the same women being rushed to ambulances, and the same horrific drying pools of blood on the sidewalk.
They interview survivors, witnesses, and people who think they might have seen something but aren't sure, but who are happy to talk to reporters.
At some point is just becomes overwhelming and so I turned over to the Monday NCIS marathon where fictional people killed other fictional people and fictional law enforcement people caught the fictional bad guys.
I would periodically switch back to regular news and see the same shots over and over again and reporters still speculating on what had happened and why, only now the numbers were mounting. 10 injured, 2 killed. 80 injured, 2 killed, 113 injured, 3 killed, one an 8 year old boy.
The horror of it all began to affect me, not in any visible way, but I was aware that I had retreated into some sort of tunnel of depression, thinking back on how many times I had sat before a television watching coverage of an event like this and wondered what is happening in our country.
On Facebook there popped up lots of graphics offering support to the victims and to the city of Boston.
And then there were the Twitter feeds. I didn't log into Twitter, but on Facebook there were reports that right away they started -- vicious things said about rounding up all Muslims and deporting them, even though there was absolutely no indication that this was not another disgruntled Timothy McVey or some other home-grown terrorist. And even if this was some Muslim who had committed this horrible act, how terrible to compound the tragedy by assuming that all Muslims were to blame.
In the evening there was a brief comment on Facebook from one of the Putah Creek Crawdads, that bluegrass group of over-65 somethings of which The Psychiatrist is a member, who have been such a staple around the Davis community. The statement mourned the passing of guitarist Chip Northup. Which one was he? I assumed he was the oldest in the group and went back and re-read the article I had written about them several years ago. No, he was not. Another guy my age (a bit older, actually. 87) who had died suddenly and unexpectedly on this day which was already filled with thoughts of death.
After dinner, I settled in to watch Dancing with the Stars, but somehow as the program went on, I couldn't get into it. Somehow it didn't seem right to be watching this show after the tragedy in Boston. I also found I was very, very tired, so I decided to watch the show in the morning and instead to go to sleep, which I did almost instantly.
I woke at midnight, but was able to get back to sleep again fairly quickly and slept through until a bit after 4:30, by which time I'd had a full night of sleep.
The first thing I did when I woke up was, of course, to check e-mail. There was a note from my Scrabble buddy Joan, forwarding a message from her pastor about Chip Northup's death:
This is a time when we experience the importance of a loving community.
It was Chip who had been murdered! I couldn't take it all in. Not only violence in our community, but violence against someone I had known.
As I sit here, I am feeling a bit nauseous. Murder in Boston, murder in Davis and the questions swirling around my head: why?
PHOTO OF THE DAY
The Putah Creek Crawdads
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