Monday, 18 June 2007

The price of charity

A man was shot and killed in the street behind my office building this morning. He was helping a stranger in trouble, and got a bullet in the chest for his efforts. Looking out the window at the rear of the building, I could see the sheet covering his body.

It's odd that mere proximity can make such a difference to the way we feel about this sort of thing. I didn't know this man, or any of the other people involved. They are as unknown to me as any of the myriad people tragically killed every day. One man killed maybe makes this less of a tragedy than the Virginia Tech shootings earlier this year, but this has affected me so much more.

It may be as simple as the feeling that it could have been me. I walk past that corner all the time, and like to think that I too would have stepped in to help. But like anyone else who hears today's story, I'll certainly be more hesitant now.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the man who died. I cannot imagine anything worse than knowing that a loved one died in pain. Or in fear. I hope the fact that he died heroically, and that his name will be revered for it, will be of some comfort to them.