The murder-suicide? It wasn't me. But my heart goes out to her and her family and her friend (if not him)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/07/30 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

Nothing technical in this post, sorry!

"It had absolutely nothing to do with me, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it."

I had to tell many people the above line throughout the day.

It had to do with the headlines all over the Internet:

It happened at the Archstone Redmond Campus apartments, which is where I live.

The shots were fired a little after nine, when I think I was already scooting over to Microsoft.

There were sirens while I was heading down 156th at the time, but it was a fire engine and an ambulance so I don't think they were related.

The five articles I mention above were all links that people sent me (via email and over IM) throughout the course of the day, people who were concerned an wanted to make sure I was not somehow involved with the incident of the estranged husband with the .357 in his waistband who shot his wife with a 9-mm while she was heading to work (at Microsoft) from the apartment she was staying at.

I wasn't.

I don't know who she was, or who he was, or who the person she was staying with is. From the picture in the King5 article, it looks like it was near outside the office on Building Z and I am in Building E -- though like I said I wasn't even home when it happened, even if it had been right outside.

All day, people who kept asking me about it, through the day -- eight in all with the five articles.

One even asked if I was the person the woman who was killed had been staying with.

Its just that you've had friends stay over before when they needed a place to live, and your facebook Relationship Status says "It's complicated." This guy was out to lucnh enough to shoot his wife. So I kind of put two and two together?

2 and 2? They got 22, this time. My life isn't *that* complicated, by any means.

One of the articles even stated the friend was female. Which I'm not. Of course each person didn't see each story -- that was just people like me.

It made the day kind of surreal, to be honest.

The most recent one was a comment in Facebook after I mentioned it in my status:

Sadly, I have to admit you were the first person who popped in my head when I heard the news story. Josh & I used to live there, too.

That is when I decided to write this actually.

Back to the various new pieces... a neighbor's quoted statements I found quite frankly perplexing, things like:

If it was a random act of violence I would be concerned... But this is an isolated incident. It could happen anywhere.

I'm hoping this was just a misquote. I certainly hit a parse error on that one.

The police PIO was not much more reassuring, from the coverage:

"It all happened in a matter of seconds," said Bove, who added that the man had a .357 magnum in the waistband of his pants during the shooting.

This makes it better, the other gun? Well I guess it means there might be two fewer guns out there.

Who was well-served by this coverage? I know I wasn't, and none of my friends who contacted me really were. No one was. So is this what the press is reduced to now? The people's right to know things that people really didn't have any actual need to know?

And I wondered about this guy I don't know who shot himself and the woman he shot and the friend of hers he didn't, and I realized that no matter how weird my day was, it had nothing on theirs. There is something really horrifying about the whole incident, and the series of tiny articles, and the people who would email me.

What about the people who emailed the friend? All of the people who emailed me just wanted to make sure everything was okay, but what if I was the one in the situation and a friend had just been shot?

I wasn't angry at the people who contacted me, but most of them were worded weirdly enough that I probably would have been, if I were involved.

No one really trains folks on how to do those "just wanted to make sure everything was okay" calls. And as far as I know there is no Miss Manners column about it, either.

I actually watched the news tonight on several channels, which is kind of a departure for me (I am mostly a Stewart/Colbert man for news these days), curious about what the coverage would be. I suppose I should be grateful that it when it was mentioned it at least came before the weather and local stock info and especiially before the Cheeto a woman found that was shaped a bit like Christ on the cross (the woman dubbed it Cheesus, of course -- didn't Heinlein have one of those in I Will Fear No Evil?) -- Cheesus was a MYQ2 exclusive.

The news reports were pretty much a rehash of the earlier stories, and all they added was a little of the art of the police moving around on the property. Which is why I am a Stewart/Colbert person now -- they at least add something to their coverage (though the downside is that they don't cover this kind of story at all since it really isn't funny).

Wrapping all this up finally, I will say a prayer tonight, for both of the two people involved who didn't shoot at anyone, and wish them whatever support they can get. If you want to take a moment to send some positive thoughts out into the universe on this then I doubt the time would be wasted.

Because the odd messages are the least of their problems, and there is really no way to make this better....

John Cowan on 30 Jul 2008 11:57 AM:

I don't think "random" there means "unpredictable", but rather "senseless".  This was, to the neighbor at least, an understandable act of violence and as such probably self-limiting: there probably aren't a *whole lot* of people in the neighborhood who are going to feel the need to do such things in the near future.

Michael S. Kaplan on 30 Jul 2008 12:45 PM:

Well, in a big complex like this (50 buildings), I wouldn't want to bet on the odds here, because whatever number one would come up with we probably have twice as many units....

Igor Levicki on 3 Aug 2008 9:36 PM:

Those news agencies should be closed. They literary litter with their illiterate articles and coverages.

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