Tonight, in One Small Town Called Kirkwood

Tonight, the dog and I walked downtown. It should have been a quiet walk, just footsteps echoing along dark streets. Instead, helicopters throbbed overhead, police cars flashed, television cameras and reporters gathered. The Kirkwood City Hall so many will see on the morning news is just a block from the farmers market where I buy so many of the vegetables you see on this site. The five people who were murdered there tonight, the two police officers, the three city employees, the two who were injured, the mayor critically -- and the gunman, too -- they and their families, they're all from my small town.

But aren't we all from some small town, even those in cities where streets and neighborhoods and buildings are the communities in which we live our lives. Countless times I've sobbed to hear of lives lost to suicide bombers, to natural calamities, to inexpressible tragedies. Tonight I spoke with a man from Lebanon who knows that in the morning, his parents will newly worry for his safety because he lives in such a dangerous place, America. We all live in small towns, wherever we live. We all mourn, wherever we live.

No words explain this madness. "What has happened to our little Mayberry?" my friend Marie writes. My only answer is quiet -- and the same sob when this happens on the other side of the world, when what has happened here, now, in my own small town.

To all the families, to the Kirkwood police force, to the people who witnessed the killings, to the city employees, to the people who gather for coffee across the street, to the teachers who will listen to students tomorrow, to the pastors who will attempt to console, to all the people who call this small town 'home', we mourn with you, we mourn together. We are you, we are your small town.

Hug your families, all.



Feb 8th 8:15 am update -- FINDING WORDS

From Marie, again "... Last night, as we watched the horror unfold on television, my confident, increasingly independent 16 year old daughter curled up next to me on the couch and put her head in my lap. How do you explain something to your children when you have no concept of it yourself? I know I’m the parent and am supposed to be strong and comforting to my children, but I’m afraid I am failing. Truth is, all I can think about right now is how I wish I had a lap to curl up into so someone would stroke my hair and tell me it’s going to be okay. Deep down I know we’re going to come together as a community and be whole again, but right now I’m just “sad beyond words” as others have so accurately put it."

From Randy, a local fire fighter, "As an emergency service worker, my heart goes out to you and the Kirkwood community. This kind of thing could happen anywhere at any time. It's the kind of thing I get called to on the job. I am trained to handle horrible or dangerous or tragic situations very methodically and with a cool, almost machine driven head. People who often see the news don't realize the impact an incident like this has on the community and on the emergency workers on the scene. They don't get emotional while handling the incident, but later, they have to each deal with it in their own way. Much like the residents of the community in this case. ... This kind of thing could happen in any of our little 'burbs' around this area. All we can do is our part... both in tangible ways in getting involved, and in our own personal ways by spiritually holding our highest thoughts for our community and its leaders."

From Linda, "... It has to be difficult for all of Kirkwood, and it impacts all of St. Louis. How very sad. Kirkwood is 'community' ... I hope it continues to have sound minds prevail. It will also take a lot of love and reaching out to neighbors to help everyone deal with this tragedy."

23 comments:

Dear Alanna, I saw it in the news this morning (we had a very early start and the local morning programme hadn't began yet, so we watched CNN), but of course I didn't connect that it was the small town of my very special blog friend.
So sorry to hear about the losses..

So sorry to hear of this, Alanna. Warm wishes to you and your town.

My heart goes out to your town.

So sorry, Alana. My heart grieves for your town.

Please know that prayers and love are being sent to you and all of those that have been touched by this horrible event.

This is sad news indeed. What HAS happened to our world that such violence is even considered to be a solution to a problem?

Thoughts go out to all but especially for those who have lost members of their family,

Elizabeth, in Toronto, another "small" town

I was stuck in parent teacher conferences last night, then rushed home to write my post for BlogHer so this is the first I've heard about this tragic event. I agree, it's so hard to understand why things like this happen. So sorry to hear about it.

Madness, it takes us all to our knees. And then we get up and go back to our towns.

It always hits me when local bad news is on teh national news and then they just go onto the next story. I've barely registered the tornadoes in Tennessee, Kentucky this week, with 50-some people who died. We'll get through this too. So will thye.

- Kirkwood resdient

So sorry Alanna. Your writing is just perfect expression. Thank you.

I'm sorry. I watched the story on the Chicago news last night. What you said about your daughter really hit me. Soon my babies will start to learn that bad things happen in their world. That makes me so sad.

Dear Alanna -

I am so sorry to hear about Kirkwood...My family mourns with you and with all that were affected by this tragedy.

Aileen

What is most unbelievable is how so many are blaming the City Council for the murderous acts of a man who so clearly lost his connection to humanity and righteousness.

My heart goes out to all of you.

What happened in Kirkwood last night is horrible and my prayers are with your entire community. Thanks for putting words to our thoughts and a face on a lovely little community where a bad thing happened.

- Cora

We saw the news this morning and I know you will be devastated. What a tragedy. All those innocent people whose lives have been changed forever by one sick man. So sad.

I know that your community will pull together and get through this. Something good will happen as a result - it always does.

- Lynda

I'm so sorry about the horrific news. I've been reading about it on the internet.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your community.

- Jaclyn

The world joins your town in mourning.

I saw you on KSDK last night, and my thoughts and prayers are with your beautiful community. The thoughts and observations you expressed were very touching.

Best,

Kathleen

Yesterday in my home town of Portsmouth Ohio a man I graduated highschool with took a knife and stabbed a woman and then went to the local Catholic elementary school and stabbed and shot his wife in front of her 5th grade class. He then went home and took his own life. We hope and pray these women survive. Our town is in shock, the children in the classroom who witnessed this terrible tragedy are traumatized. I will pray for the families in Kirkwood who lost loved ones as I also pray for our town and the victims. Our world is out of control. People coming together sharing their grief and sympathy is such a blessing. Thank you.

Oh, Alanna! This was a beautiful post. I'm so sorry this had to happen to your town. My prayers are with you.

It's hard to read the news now without some tears. Thank you for putting human scale to this disturbing event.

Absolutely terrifying... my thoughts are with you, and those poor people.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna