Sunday, May 20, 2007

When Your Hometown Hits the National News

I was surfing across CNN this morning when I saw a news link that said, "Police Shot in Shootings." I clicked on it out of morbid curiosity, and the location at the top of the story read MOSCOW, Idaho (AP). That was pretty startling, because nothing ever happens in Moscow. It's a quiet university town in the rolling prairie of northern Idaho.

The story has since been updated, but the original was full of preliminary mystery. A shooter had gained entry into the Presbyterian Church, and was evidently firing a semi-automatic weapon into the county courthouse complex across the street. The shooter fired about 75 rounds over the course of two hours. Two policemen and a passerby were injured. From the accounts, the passerby was in surgery and all the injured were taken to the local (Gritman Memorial) medical center.

Later reports stated that two people had been killed in the church, and the police believe the shooter was one of them. SWAT teams entered the church about 6 a.m. local (Pacific Daylight) time. Neither of the two people in the church have been identified.

I'm reading all of this just before Ron and I take off for the Silver Diner to have breakfast. I'm living in the big city, and I worry about my hometown. I wonder about motive, identity, gun culture. And I wonder if my Mom's neighbor, who is a policeman, is okay. In the big city, I expect people to be a little crazy, and I'm not surprised by reports of muggings or street violence. In my hometown, I expect people to be friendly and caring, and I'm shocked to read about a shooter trying to ambush police from the belltower of the Presbyterian Church.