Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sadness and senselessness

Nearly a week ago, a couple of hours after the crowds dispersed following the jubilent fireworks celebration that marks the 4th of July in our neighborhood, horrific sounds awoke me and my husband: the squeal of tires, a thud and then plaintive screams. We jumped out of bed and raced to the window overlooking the street. My husband got there in time to see a dark truck turning the corner. He said the screams seemed to be coming from the truck.

Because revelers often make noises throughout the night after the city's fireworks show, and we didn't see any sign of an accident on the street, we questioned what we had heard. But no, we said to each other, those screams were not the sounds of joy or drunken exuberance. John went outside to look around. He saw neighbors across the street who had also heard the sounds. They decided to call 911 to report a possible abduction. Soon, a couple of neighbors who were walking home on foot noticed a bike in the street. The police arrived and on their way discovered the victim of what we now know was a brutal hit and run, lying about a block away where she had been dragged after becoming entangled with the vehicle.

We learned the next morning the cyclist, Kelly, who lived with her husband on the next block, had been killed by this craven act. She had been riding her bike home from work. The evidence suggests, and it is consistent with the sounds we heard, that the driver may have deliberately hit her.

Being the bleediest of bleedinghearts, I can never help feeling a sadness for all involved in a tragedy. Kelly and her loved ones, obviously, deserve and get the bulk of this grief. But as much as I want to see the perpetrator of this crime brought to justice, I can't help feeling a smidgen of grief for him (or her) as well. What kind of scarred life causes this level of inhumanity towards one's fellow creatures? I can only imagine it is a life that has never known love, and that makes me sad.

And I have sadness for all of us. How can we continue to tolerate such brokenness in our world? When will humans evolve to care for each other, each and every one? How can we move to a culture that celebrates love and life and has no tolerance for hatred and violence?

I don't have any answers. The only response I know to make today is to get on my bike and ride in solidarity with my community to honor Kelly.

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