There was a robbery at the Post Office in the village neighbouring ours this morning. The Post Master was shot in the leg; his son was shot dead. One media account described this as “an armed robbery gone wrong” - as if armed robbery ever goes well! The Daily Mail has the full story.
This is tragically far from unique in the UK, even less in other parts of the world. There are many innocents caught up in ongoing or recurring conflicts around the globe. Murder is perpetrated on a larger scale all too frequently. And when I read of these events I do feel a genuine mental sympathy for the victims. But for some reason this has touched me emotionally in ways that other events have not.
It’s not I feel any more afraid. True, the police did seal off the area, and there were helicopters hovering over the village for the best part of the morning. But Fairfield, where the event took place, is about five minutes drive from the intersection of two Motorways; the robbers could have been a county away within half-an-hour of the crime.
I think its the psychological power of our proximity to the place and those involved that is at work. The Post Office is less than a mile from my house, as the crow flies. I’ve used it myself on several occasions, and was probably served by those involved. And our daughter was at pre-school just around the corner from the place, my wife having dropped her off 40 minutes after the episode, though unaware of it at the time.
So I find myself recalling that I was just arriving at work at the same time the poor man was shot; wondering what thoughts the hapless pair had to themselves as they opened up shop this morning. And trying to imagine the feelings of the Fiancée of the dead man: what must be going through her mind at this very moment?
I guess there’s good reason why the phrase “it brings it all home” has settled itself as a cliché in our language.
My prayers are with the victims, and with the authorities that the perpetrators will be brought swiftly to justice.