October 3, 2017, Prescott Valley-
I attended a small candlelight vigil, this evening, at a Lutheran Church on this town’s near north side. About a dozen people prayed and lit special candles for the victims of the October 1 mass murder in Las Vegas.
I will be processing this horrific event for some time. Along with smaller, but no less terrible, if personalized, events happening within my small circle, the Las Vegas massacre has given October an ominous start. October is a month traditionally devoted to harvest, in the Northern Hemisphere, and planting, in the South of the planet.
The killer, who may, or may not, have had help and encouragement from as far away as the Philippines, left no obvious motive for his mayhem. We are only left to speculate, which is ever a perilous thing, in and of itself.
The motives of a person, within my neighbourhood, who has taken in recent days to harassing the family of my departed next door neighbour, are much clearer. He sees them as something of a threat to the value of his property. This has led him to taunting them, in the midst of their grief. I am hoping, and praying, that this state of affairs will be resolved peacefully.
Yet, therein lies a key to the entirety of crimes against humanity, large and small. The enemy, as I said last night, is anonymity. Many believe, with Robert Frost, that “Good fences make good neighbours”. While a measure of privacy is good for each of us, in the course of a day, there is a fine line between that reasonable privacy and anonymity. No one seems to know much about the Las Vegas killer. No one knew much about others of his ilk, either, from John Wayne Gacy, through Ted Bundy and Gary Tison, to the ISIS-inspired killers in San Bernardino, Brussels and Manchester.
I am a relatively quiet man, who has lived alone for the past six years. This could very easily lead to people concluding that I am a threat to their safety, especially if I were to maintain a reclusive lifestyle. Indeed, there are a few restaurants in my town where I am not welcome, when dining alone. Thus, for the broader sake of becoming familiar to my neighbours, as well as for my own sense of well-being, I have chosen to be active in certain community groups. It also helps that I have no hidden agenda or any particular mental health issues, unless one regards my mild autism as such.
The latest national tragedy will only see the silver lining of reconciliation, if we as a nation begin to recognize that anonymity and excessive guardedness are what got us into this mess, in the first place.