Where is the outrage. Where is MY outrage?
The facts: 9:55PM Saturday July 3, 2004/Charlotte, NC/woman driving car stopped at red light/less than two miles from her home/two men approach car and attempt car-jacking/woman shot to death while still in driver’s seat/woman’s boyfriend, 11 year old daughter, 10 year old friend in the car during shooting/9:15PM Tuesday July 6, 2004 suspects still at-large.
I never take crime statistics seriously but for some weird reason I do take them personally. I don’t want to hear about the ‘per capita’ murder rate. I’m more concerned about the murder rate ‘per ME’. Olivia Gail Cook Sigmon wasn’t the first person murdered in this area I’ve heard about. But after sixteen years here I can say I’ve never “known” any local murder victim.
Death was not a stranger growing up. Seeming somehow so stereotypically southern, trips to funeral homes and cemeteries occurred regularly. If not for relatives, then for the the little girl my sister’s age whose family lived two blocks away. She was killed by a car crossing the street in front of her house. My Pee-Wee baseball league teammate killed the summer between 4th and 5th grades when he fell off the back of a tractor and under a bush-hog. He was buried in his baseball uniform. My 5th grade Sunday school teacher, still college age, who enlisted, went to Vietnam and was welcomed home in a flag draped casket one gloriously beautiful spring day with a twenty-one gun salute.(I mentioned him in a previous post)
After years of watching the body count announced on the Huntley-Brinkley report, episodes such as Lebanon and Grenada seemed trivial. By chance I plopped down on the couch after supper one evening in January 1991 and turned on CNN just as the first bombs fell in Baghdad. Broadcast live with color commentary by Bernard Shaw, John Holliman and Peter Arnett, I found myself in the same slack-jawed position as when I first saw MTV years before and just couldn’t pull myself away.
Sitting in Starbucks having my usual “I can’t believe you pay that much for coffee” iced mocha the morning of September 12th, 2001, I swore nothing had changed. I refused to behave any differently than I had just two days before. Articles in magazines like Esquire about various “special-operations” units operating in Afghanistan held my attentions as I read about the destruction caused by today’s military technology.
Then something changed. Unlike the detached calm I felt while watching Stormin’ Norman’s troops annihilate Saddam’s conscripted army, when I read or saw the first casualty reports resulting from George W.’s crusade into Iraq I felt what I can only describe as sick-to-my-stomach.
You know what else I find interesting? After years of gradually losing interest in Doonsebury, Garry Trudeau now has my full attention because of B.D. losing a leg.
So now I spend more time reading and rereading a syndicated comic strip than I do the front page news about the latest local murder victim.
I don’t get it.