When I got home on Friday evening, the police had taped off the road.… - John C. Kirk
Nov. 30th, 2003
When I got home on Friday evening, the police had taped off the road. Today, I found out why - the guy who owned the local chip shop was killed there. There's a sign up in the shop (with lots of flowers inside that people have left), and a news report on the BBC website.
It's weird to think that I spoke to him on Thursday evening, and that if I'd come straight home from work on Friday evening then I probably would have been there when it happened (or at least within earshot). It's partly worrying (I know that people have been shot in that chip shop before) since it's so close to here. But it's also frustrating, because I think that maybe if I'd been there I could have done something to help. In a situation like that, intervention would of course be risky - I think the main issue would be whether the killer ran away waving his gun in the air (which might attract undue attention), or whether he'd put it away in his jacket (which would make him more vulnerable) Given my recent problems at climbing, it's possible that I wouldn't have had the nerve to do anything, but I'd like to think that I could have done something to help, even if it was "just" calling 999 or giving CPR.
I suspect this is a form of survivor's guilt. I remember going to a memorial service in Soho after the nail bomb in 1999. That was a similar situation, in that I would have been walking past the pub at the time the bomb exploded if I'd stuck to my normal routine. At the service, they had a section where they asked everyone to turn to the person next to them and say where you were when it happened. I'm sure it wasn't intended this way, but I felt that the question was vaguely accusatory on behalf of the dead and wounded ("why weren't you here to help us?").
I feel a bit selfish for having these thoughts, since this event isn't about me. And my sympathies go to George's family. But this is my blog, so you get my perspective... Anyway, hopefully the police will catch the guy who did it.