Thursday, April 02, 2009

What Does Revenge Do? Shooting in the Walmart Parking Lot

There's an email making the rounds of the Internet again. I received this one years ago and just got it once more this week. It has a series of quotes supposedly from Andy Rooney. Who knows if that's really the truth. One of the quotes says "I 've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you."

Normally, that's not a statement that I'd even think about writing a blog about. I mean, from my point of view, isn't this statement obvious?

But the more I've been thinking about it -- and the more I've been watching television and listening to what's been going on in these parts -- the more I think it's not obvious to some people at all!

Recently the local community here in Arizona has been hurt and many people are fretting still about an elderly couple who were gunned down in front of their car while loading purchases in a Walmart parking lot. We met these people and heard they were very nice. They lived just down the road from us (well, about 6 miles) and were friends of the family.

The story we were told when we first arrived is that they used to live next door to a couple who had a nasty way of making a "living." They would become friends, instigate an argument and then escalate that disagreement up and up until the people they were harassing became furious enough to retaliate. Then they'd sue them, win a settlement and move to another state. Apparently it happened more than once. The locals used to think this was a preplanned line of attack but crazy people wind up creating and recreating these kinds of scenarios all the time so now people aren't so sure.

In this case the elderly couple they targeted brought a lawsuit of their own, were able to present documented evidence of the ongoing abuses, and won. The nasty ones lost their land in the settlement process and had to leave town.

Everyone thought that was the end of it until the wife committed suicide. Did her mean-spirited husband drive her to it or was it a direct result of losing the lawsuit? Nobody knows the story behind that one but her husband thought he did. He decided to kill his old neighbors and drove to Show Low to do it. He knew their habits—every Monday morning they drove the 40 miles to the Walmart there to buy groceries. So he laid in wait for them and shot them dead. It wasn't long before he was dead himself. He drove to New Mexico, got pulled over for driving erratically later that week, and killed himself before the police could walk over to his car.

Now, there are side stories in this. Don't think for a minute there was no abuse on the part of the people who were shot, too. They may have been nice enough under the circumstances but there were other people who got involved -- people who felt the nasty people should get a taste of their own medicine, people who played at goading them on. They were "standing up for their own," you see. They contributed to the warfare waged before the lawsuit and didn't give the potential consequences of their activity a single thought.

Now the people they were "supporting" are dead or dying and these survivors are dying a little at heart themselves.

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