Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Last month a young man was shot to death right here on the sidewalk in front of the grocery store where I shop. He was young and the alleged shooter was the father of his estranged girlfriend. There was, apparently, a custody battle going on between the victim and the shooter's daughter over their 3-year-old son. Horrible. Stupid. Tragic.
This evening, as I once again skirted around this growing assemblage of wilting flowers and cheap candles, I wondered why this kind of thing has become the accepted form of mourning a public death. Does this really comfort anyone? I really do wonder. My neighbor works at this store and I can't help but think that this display is a constant reminder to her and her coworkers of a horrible and frightening afternoon. I see most shoppers avoiding it as best they can as they manipulate shopping carts from the nearby supply near the front door. The Girl Scouts are selling cookies from their card table setup a few yards away.The adjacent soda machine isn't attracting much business.
I don't doubt that those who left these flowers and trinkets, including a ceramic angel,were sincere in their desire to remember a friend or neighbor, but I find it hard to imagine how this helps. There is something especially sad, to me, about the the dirty, stained sidewalk, the forlorn flowers and the triteness of the effort.
If I am ever gunned down in front of the grocery store, please don't do this for me. Instead, send a donation to the Food Bank, send a note to my family and hug somebody you love.