Saturday, July 12, 2008

when the news suddenly becomes front page

Most of the time when I watch the news, I don't make much of it. I really like international news, and then I perk up during sports and weather. Last week I had remember seeing a story about a man who was killed by a motor vehicle. Some guy had gone crazy and jumped the curb. They showed his picture and I thought he looked Filipino.

Before I jumped out of my chair when Filipinos were noted as "killers" on the news, since Filipinos never made it to the news like that. I mean really, there is a stereotype that only single white males go off their rocker and kill folks and everyone else kills folk because of some gang or vendetta. And up until then, the only Filipino you saw on news was Marcos or his wife. That all changed with Cunanan, who made national news taking out a famous designer. Since then, Filipinos have hit the American news: the student who stock piled explosive to go columbine at a local college, the Filipino who held a woman in his parent's home against her will.

But yet, while surprising, the stories never made me think any deeper than the story they reported. I didn't think too much about their families, their children, their parents.

I found out today that the Filipino who had gone nuts in Alameda is 3 degrees away from me. Meaning, we've attended parties together though I never spoke to him personally. The story really became the heartbreaking story that all of them are. A family is shattered, both for the victim and the killer.

Suddenly, I felt a sadness, a remorse, a failure. So many questions. Was it mental illness? Were there signs? Did they have problems? Money, marital, stress? What of his children too young to understand? And his wife who is suddenly married to a murderer? And really, ultimately, the question that could never be answered was there anything any of us could have done to prevent this?

Because in the end, they are our community. Before he killed man, he was and still is a father, a husband, a friend. He was part of a community. And that same community must step up now for his wife and his children, and the family their husband/father destroyed.

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