I suppose terrible things have always happened. There have always been shocking crimes. Still, it feels to me that there are more awful things happening now than ever before. I don’t know if that’s really the case, or if it’s just they’re more broadly, and graphically, reported now.
Check any random week and you’ll find a collection of awful events. This week, for example, there was the woman who drove into a lake with her four young children, three of whom died. Whether it was deliberate or accident it’s a tragedy that shocks the whole community.
Then in Leeton a bride to be disappears mysteriously. A few days later the cleaner at the school she worked at is arrested for her murder. She was due to be married this Saturday, and by all reports was a lovely, bubbly person.
There’s nothing extraordinary in these tales unfortunately, but in my experience at least they have an eroding effect on the soul. Not another one, you think. You see the grieving family, witness the community coming together, observe the shock among your colleagues.
In recent times there seem a lot of attacks against women. Certainly it’s a crime that is getting much more attention, as it should. There’s something demoralising about this, especially as a man. So many men resort to violence when they’re frustrated or denied. It’s ridiculous and pathetic, but unfortunately fatal for the women in their life. Is this a fresh epidemic? Is it systematic of our times? Or is no more than it ever has been – shocking if that’s the case, because there are way too many.
Amongst all the bleak news there are the occasional uplifting stories. An autistic boy goes missing on Good Friday in the bush. For days volunteers swarm the area searching for him, to no avail. Then, unexpectedly, he is spotted on Tuesday, cold and hungry, but well. He is rescued. A story that could have turned out so much differently ends up a story of triumph – of the community joining in common cause while a state watches wishing and hoping. This time it happened, a happy ending.
But not always.