On Saturday I decided to go to a store I've been to once before to get a carpet runner. It is where we locals call "out south." To us who have been spoiled by life in a little, quiet town it is the doomed errand. When you say to someone "I have to go out south" or "They've decided to move out south" people will groan with you. It is a congested, SUV filled place where suburbia has puked strip malls as far as the eye can see.
Even though it is a mere twenty minutes away, one must mentally prepare for the dreaded ride "out south."
The intersection in which I thought the store was at is really busy, and since I didn't know on what corner it was situated, I decided to overshoot my destination by a few blocks and then back track. Even that I wasn't entirely sure of but as soon as I saw the sign for Village Shalom I knew I was on the right street.
One day later a woman was shot to death at that very place going to see her mother in the assisted living center.
Prior to that, the gunman killed a grandfather and his fourteen year old grandson a few blocks away at the Jewish Community Center.
I am not one to ruminate on whether or not that could have been me if it had happened a day earlier. It wasn't. Some other family got devastating news on that awful day in a manner that makes absolutely no sense, and the lives of those left to make funeral arrangements will be forever altered.
This has shocked this community, and though hate groups have always been on the periphery, a fourteen year old boy trying out for a music competition hasn't even lived long enough to understand that kind of hate let alone be the target of its violence.
Like high schools, grade schools, army bases, movie theaters, restaurants and every city in America, gun violence has made a home in our area and there will be analysis for years on how this could have been prevented.
But here in the land of the free, the one nation that has claimed from its inception to be under God, handguns, rifles and assault weapons legally sit at the right hand of The Father..........
.........and the right to come home on a stormy Sunday afternoon has been sold to the NRA.