Saturday, February 16, 2013

Behind Closed Doors

Crime occurs daily. It's on the news. It's happening now. It's happening to other people. It's far away. Even in your city, it's still nowhere near you. It's distant, you are safe. You are a spectator. You are not involved. But you could be.

In Loathe Your Neighbor, David Lavender is aware of domestic problems next door. He has heard the loud, abusive arguments and other ominous sounds from within the walls. He has suspicions about the people who live there. He doesn't trust them. On a number of occasions, David goes to investigate, he knocks on the door, he calls the police. He gets involved partly out of neighbourly concern, and partly because he's a stickybeak.

Last week, just up the road from me, a man was killed in his home by his partner. News reports say that during the night she beat the man with an iron rod and poured boiling water over him. Apparently, when she woke in the morning, he was dead. She has been charged.

I wonder if the people who live next door to this tragic couple had any suspicions. If they did, did they act on them? Did they try to get involved, to help? More likely, they, like most of us, had no idea what was going on behind closed doors. They were probably ignorant of the violent disaster brewing. I hope they were. I hope they weren't afraid to get involved, or merely uncaring.

Most people  who are murdered are murdered by someone they know. Random killings of unconnected, unrelated victims are rare. I feel safe, but terribly sad that many people are living under potential death sentences by virtue of the people with whom they share their lives.