So, yesterday, a young man went on another killing spree in his high school, after killing his grandfather and grandfather's partner. It's a shock and a horror. I find myself wanting to know more - to try to figure out how this could happen, all the while remembering the confusion and rage that was adolescence. This is hard to understand, but not entirely inconceivable.
This is what's inconceivable. Yesterday, Adult Protective Services workers found the mummified body of a 79 year old Fairfield, CA woman on the floor of her kitchen. Her son and husband, who lived in the same home, had left her corpse to lie there on the floor since 2003. The news article I read didn't give cause of death, but my co-worker had heard from a news broadcast that the woman had fallen and had been left to die on the floor. Now these people weren't friendly, or apparently too neat, but neighbors had gossiped together about no seeing the woman for a long time, until a concerned neighbor called about the elderly husband who'd taken to wandering the streets in all weather.
I think that both stories hold the same moral. We need to pay attention, not just to our own kids and elderly, but to the people we see around us everyday. If we notice that someone may be in pain, we should reach out in some way. We need to have a new understanding of vigilance. This isn't about protecting what's mine - it's about protecting what's good for us all.