Friday, March 22, 2013

How much is a human life worth?

Pietà (Michelangelo)
It's a morbid question, I know. And this is a morbid entry, because it deals with the death of the young. Forewarned is forearmed.

There was news of a death in the Conservatory as I was waiting for my dinner companion. The story from the KC Star is HERE. It was not a name I knew. When I returned from dinner, I looked on Facebook.

For better or ill, almost everyone can be found on Facebook.

Sure enough, there he was. As I scanned the wall, a few comments post mortem had already been written. A digital missive addressed to a soul no longer able to see it.

Further down, recent activity showed me a moving surprise. In the fall, I had attended the UMKC opera, "Die Lustige Witwe" (The Merry Widow). It's one of my favorite musical experiences, and UMKC opera department did a good job. The man murdered was in that show. I had sat 15 feet from him. I had heard him sing. I had thought him among the better voices and actors on stage, though I promptly forgot all about him until this moment.

The news article states that there was a party in an apartment near the plaza, and two armed men forced their way in and stole cell phones and other valuables. In the process, shots were fired, one person was killed, and three or four wounded. The victim was twenty-three years old.

In a unnerving circumstance of synchronicity, the top video in my feed was titled, "How much is a human life worth?" It was unrelated subject matter, but a chilling question. Apparently, one man's was worth some phones.

Two suspects are sought. Hopefully since so many people survived, the murderers will be identified and found.

The world carried on. People complained about the upcoming snowstorm. People posted recipes and photos of food. And somewhere, a family knows only anguish. A mother and father weep at the death of a son. A family's despair and horror sliced into me until I shuddered. I shook and shed tears for people I didn't know and will never meet. And the world carried on.

I found a copy of my senior picture and set it as my profile shot. Old high school friends and new college friends approved and probably got a chuckle at my dated glasses, mop of hair, and out of style tie.

And I felt better.

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