Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

October 31, 2006 > When bad things happen

When bad things happen

The Greater Tri-City area is not known for extensive and serious crime, but is certainly not immune to it either.  With urban influences on our borders, we are susceptible to forays by neighboring ner-do-wells and our own home-grown lawless element. Occasionally the population at large is shocked into the reality of criminal behavior even though our police could regale us with many tales of the underbelly of humanity. Local misdeeds and the segment of society that perpetrates a majority of these foul activities often prey upon their own group in the shadows, much of their activity carried on in the wee hours. It is when actions of these misfits become so heinous and bold that we are compelled to look into their world and react to a different reality.

Recently, Fremont citizens were forced to peer into an abyss of horror as an innocent woman was murdered in broad daylight on a seemingly safe and mundane errand with youngster in tow. In this instance, how could anyone anticipate the depravity of deliberately taking life and in such a brutal manner? This follows on the heels of the murder of a shopkeeper in Irvington. The rest of us live with the aftermath and try to make sense of senseless violence, hate and fear that drive such actions. As authorities investigate and hopefully unravel the truth, we are hard-pressed to wait without jumping to conclusions. Was this a crime perpetrated simply because this woman wore a hijab or was some other motivation involved? The easy answers are not always the right ones.

To characterize this almost inconceivable action is far beyond words and the motivation at this time, remains equally as nebulous. It is far too easy for political types to quickly capitalize on sorrow and grief, pandering to their own interests and offering artificial fixes. A public display of grief at a memorial is fitting and allows the community to display its feelings. However, the suggestion of a “Hijab Day” usurps the religious significance of the headscarf. The community is not battling state-sponsored terrorism or the act of some official body to intimidate or eradicate a specific group of people. This was the act of a criminal. If the idea originated to show that we can all be targets of irrational violence, I think most of us are aware of this and see it on the evening news in full color daily.

In this case, as of yet, there is little to parse and little consolation for the friends, family and community at large. Here is undisguised evil, clear proof that it exists, waiting to prey upon us at random. Some comfort can be found in the existence of opposites and the collective pain felt by the community. Efforts to share the pain can help bring perspective, but the loss is an individual point of darkness, a vicious rip in our society, that must be brought under the light of investigation and disclosure. Until we know why such an act was perpetrated or even if there was a reason at all, we need to pull together, understanding that even with our differences, a common thread of decency and hope for peaceful coexistence is woven throughout our community fabric.

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