I live in a small town; a small rural town comprised of resort lodging, magnificent natural wonders, recreational opportunities at every turn. It is a fairly quiet place with the consistent and necessary ebb and flow of visitors who come to ski, hike, mountain climb, ice climb, golf, fish, canoe and kayak or just breathe clean air.
During the seventeen years my husband and I have lived here, there have been very few major events of note. Seven years ago, three people were shot to death in the local Army Navy store during a failed robbery. That was the biggest news here in over a decade. Last year, a fourteen year old girl disappeared after school. The hunt was on for nine months despite many believing she was either a runaway or dead. She turned up last Fall after a harrowing kidnapping, having been held prisoner in a shipping container and sexually assaulted by her 31 year old kidnapper. But she's alive and her story is one of hope.
This week, a man I knew as an acquaintance due to his close friendship with my good friends, shot his wife then himself. It's a very old story but the difference is, everyone in our valley knew them in one way or another. They were "native locals". They were born and raised here. They have four children. They had a twenty seven year long troubled marriage filled with abusive behaviour on both sides. Alcohol was a problem. But nothing pointed to this ending.
People are haunted by this event. It's not a news event, something you see on TV and can turn off. It's too close to home. It undermines everything people think they believe when it comes to their neighbor, friend, family member. Because, if this guy with whom we have partied, worked, grown up with and known all our lives can do this to his wife and, ultimately, his children, what is there to believe in?