Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Small Town Tragedy

(My Wednesday Fall Fancies feature returns next Wednesday).

I grew up in the most populous city in the United States, New York City.  And, over 25 years ago, I moved to the Binghamton area of upstate New York.

So many people think "New York City" when they think New York State, but so much of New York State consists of these small rural towns, where everyone knows everyone else.

Monday, after work, I was browsing Facebook. A business near Bainbridge, New York (another small town, near Afton, and about 35 miles from Binghamton) that I follow called Frog Pond posted about the "tragedy in our town today" and asked for privacy for the affected family, who they (of course) knew personally.

I immediately went to local media websites.  At the time, there weren't many details. There are more details now, but enough still remains a mystery - including the main question - why?

It was apparently an incident of road rage, which ended in a parking lot in Bainbridge, with a father and son shot and the son dead. The family suffering the loss lives in Afton.  The father, who is in a hospital a mile or so from where I live, ignored his serious wounds and tried to perform CPR on his dying son.

The shooter? A retired New York City policeman.

Afton mourns.  Bainbridge mourns.  They are in shock. A woman is widowed, a daughter is without a brother.  Things like that don't happen in an instant in small towns some 35 miles from Binghamton. 

Meanwhile, people in Binghamton, which suffered one of the largest mass shootings in American history back in 2009 (14 dead), feel a small part of the pain we felt that day.

This has happened too many times in our country.

Another day in the life of an American town.

Tomorrow, back to happier posts.


  1. Alana, I'm feeling there's not much humanity in the world today. But I know I'm wrong. Yesterday, I watched the funeral of the young soldier killed in Ottawa by a 'terrorist'. And then there's all that ugly sexual assault stuff about one of our prominent radio personalities. I hope my cold gets better soon. It colours everything in a worse light.


    1. I can not imagine how greatly the shooting in Ottawa affected all Canadians. I can only express my deepest sympathies - I live about 430 km from Ottawa and it is a beautiful city (I've visited it twice). Sometimes, I feel just that way, too. I also think humanity is going to destroy itself one day. There should be life on other planets - why haven't we been contacted? Is it because all intelligent life in the universe self destructs before they get into space? That's what I think about in my dark moods.

  2. Very sad. Shock registers high when things happen like this. But I'd rather shock than indifference. My town was also shocked by a gun incident in the only bar that exists in our town.There was a man who came from a large city in AZ, settled down here temporarily, and got into a rage over someone flirting with his girlfriend and exploded. My brother tried to stop it and what ensued is something that is still spoken about in hushed voices today...part of a bartender's ear bitten, and a hunting rifle stolen from the trunk of a car. The man shot into the barroom, didn't kill anyone but scared everyone in our quiet town. He was sentenced to so many years in prison. I always wondered why he let life in a small town rob him of his freedom. It's a story that could be made into a book. Another sad tale!

    1. And, Amy, you are one heck of a storyteller! That story gave me chills.

  3. How very sad. My heart goes out to the family.

    On the one hand, this is why we moved to a small town. On the other hand, obviously, something like this can happen anywhere. (We used to live in Phoenix which seems to alternate with Mexico City for having the highest rate of kidnappings in the country.)

    As my husband says, things like this can happen anywhere and there are people in any community who are up to no good.... but at the same time, it's easier to keep track of 900 people than it is to keep track of 3.5 million...

  4. Sometimes the tragedies around us have to be acknowledged. I don't know why there is so much suffering in the world at the moment. I'm not even sure if there is more of it, or if we hear about it more. Every morning, I pray for all the people who have lost loved ones with the wish that they can find some joy in their lives today.

  5. I feel that people do not value their own life, therefore they do not value the life of others.
    It is so unfortunate that we live in such a society.
    My heart aches for your town. I hope the family finds some sort of comfort with the town's love and support.

  6. I live in Afton and know the good family this tragedy happened to. There is no widow, though, not that that lessens the horror of this. It is so difficult to believe this did happen right here, but yes, it happens anywhere. I think one of the most twisted parts of this road rage, as it has been called, tragedy is the fact that the man who shot Derek (the son) is, in fact, a fairly new employee of Chenango County as a CORRECTIONS OFFICER. A retired officer from NYC, moves up here and becomes gainfully employed just this past June or July in our area as a corrections officer. I wonder what type of legitimate, if any, background check was done - and/or given. I must believe this man had a tendency towards a short fuse and his "references" and employee record from the big city did not share that truth with us. Maybe I am wrong, but I have seen enough in this life within the corporate world, legal and medical to believe I am probably on target.
    Imagine, this man was a parole officer. Enough said.


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