There's been a fair amount of discord lately among people I like to consider my friends...persons with bright minds and sharp wits, strong opinions and forceful characters, who are sometimes both too alike and too different to mix well. Not an unusual circumstance, really. I think we all have groups of friends that we know don't fit together, yet we seem to fit with them all. At least, enough to be comfortable if not part of a central core. Sometimes things happen that bring these people into contact with one another and sparks fly, then the groups close ranks to support their own members. This, too, is quite natural. Eventually, time passes and people whose feelings ran hot don't so much forgive and forget, as choose to move on. Being someone who can see both sides, and where and how the hurts are inflicted and returned and perceived by others isn't an easy position. But again, with time the conflicts subside, although often not resolved and the hurts remain, but life goes on.
Life outside the internet. For all the conflicts and arguments and kerfuffles that can occur here it still remains a relatively safe place to be. Recently, I was in Florida for two weeks. (Okay, I was at Disney World). Went there the weekend before Thanksgiving. While I was there, I was online and IM'd by a friend in Maryland asking if we were okay and safe. I was a little confused, until he told me about the shootings that had been reported along I-270 which circles Columbus, Ohio. Afterward, I started searching and didn't have to look very far to find online articles (from all over the world) about it. One woman killed, and possibly 9 related shootings. No, make that 11. Hold on...14 now. Wait, 15, no 16. Two other online friends asked if I was okay, one in PA and the other in Amsterdam. Both were relieved that I was in Florida, not Ohio. As was I. Kept looking because the location where the woman was killed was only about 5 miles from the freeway exit to my home, and most news reports were describing the area for the shooting as either a 5- or a 7-mile stretch of I-270. 17 web sites later, I found a map that showed the area as starting about 2 miles from my exit and stretching in the opposite direction. Found my self somewhat guiltily relieved.
After returning home to Columbus, I came up to my place in Michigan (not liking to leave it unattended for long periods of time) and have been happily watching the snow fall outside while I'm all snug and comfy inside with a fire in the fireplace. And trying to decide how deep I want to let the snow get before going out to clear it. Then yesterday afternoon, I was talking in IM with my nephew-in-law who is in Kentucky, and he asked if I knew about the closing of all the Southwestern School District schools. "No. What?!? Why?" I replied. He tells me that two of the schoolbuses were shot. Whoa. And that so was the car of a friend of his. (The bullet bounced off the front hood, and wasn't found). So again, I'm looking for detailed information and manage to find the actual (though approximate) locations of the new shootings. One of them is an intersection that is less than 1/2 mile from my house. Go south from it, make the first right turn and follow the street around the curve and there I am. An intersection that is used every time I go somewhere (or at least 99% of the time). The schoolbus could easily be one that carries the kids on my street. I daresay it isn't necessary to say this, but that is not a comfy thought.
I've been trying to figure out what this person is trying to accomplish. Unlike the MD/DC/VA snipers, he (will use 'he' for simplicity) doesn't seem to be trying to actually kill anyone. Almost as if the woman who was killed was 'bad aim'. Shooting at hoods, and back bumpers, a school in the middle of the night, the back tail-lights of the school buses. In a small but widespread enough area that no one can really narrow it down. Trying to get people scared? Certainly. Wanting news stories about himself all over the world. More than likely? Intended to find himself facing, most likely, a murder 2 charge? Somehow, I don't think so. But he will be when he's caught. Whatever his original motives might have been, he's now a killer. And murdering someone didn't stop him. I'm likely not alone in saying I want him stopped.