Monday morning in Webster NY, a village to the east of Rochester, a house fire was reported. Firefighters responded, and walked into a trap, resulting in two deaths and two seriously wounded. The shooter killed himself after SWAT units responded, but in the delay, several other houses caught fire. Two families lost their loved ones, and others were homeless for the holiday. What makes this resonate so much is not just that they were firefighters. They were volunteer firefighters, and it’s something that strikes a major chord with rural areas.
Tag Archives: community
Almost two years ago, after Representative Giffords was shot, I wrote an article about the reactions by the “gun rights” advocates. Their solution always seems to be “more guns.” Since then, we’ve seen more mass shootings, including 7 this year. Every time, the gun rights advocates pull out the “if only” card, and try to use that to block sensible discussion about guns, gun control, and reducing gun violence. Yesterday, we had the 7’th shooting incident, a horrific one that cost the lives of twenty young children in an elementary school. Today, we have the “gun rights” idiots in full voice with their solution… more guns. They have a fantasy, you see.
One of the experiences you gain as you grow older is that you attend an increasing number of “calling hours” at funeral homes. Elderly members of your, or your friend’s, family pass on, and you go to pay your respects and offer your condolences. One of the facets of that is that you’ll hear at least one person (and usually more) make a comment about how nice a job the funeral director did on the deceased, that they “look so nice.” I was reminded of that when a co-worker was discussing the goings-on in one of the groups in a nearby town. There was a lot of pushing done to “beautify” the main street, and arguments over whether a pavilion should be built on a local beach, or its placement. I said “Well, that’s nice, but all they’re doing is dressing up a corpse.”
Much of my childhood was spent in the Adirondacks, but in my teens we moved to Central New York. In many ways, it was similar. Small towns, rural, mostly farming communities. The area was also predominantly white. One of the people we got to know was a “general handyman” and carpenter who was called in when you needed something fixed, and fixed right. His name was Everett Holmes, and he lived in a small village a few miles away called Bridgewater. He was one of the few African-Americans in the area, and you’d have been hard-pressed to find anyone who didn’t like him. Which is why in 1974, he made New York State history.