Hanamaulu isn’t the only imperfect place

I was raised in a religious home by a Catholic mother who believed in a loving,

all-knowing God.I think I became a reporter because the world I found

when I entered adulthood was so different than the little enclosed emotional

space I was brought up in.

I had the misguided belief that if I wrote

honestly about all the violence in the world, people would see that it was

wrong and maybe even begin to treat each other more gently.

Of course, such

universal brotherhood (and sisterhood) never happens outside of environments as

enclosed as my childhood, like an occasional love relationship or a deep


These old thoughts were stirred in me Monday after covering a

double shooting in Hanama’ulu.

Even here on Kaua`i, as far removed

physically from the day-to-day stresses humans are prone to on the mainland as

one can be, people snap, people do terrible violence to each other, people

regret their actions – sometimes too late.

And it’s not just


My Seattle female correspondents ask about the serial killer on

Kaua’i every other e-mail: “Did they catch him yet?” My male friends never


A lady I haven’t met, whose dream has always been to move to Hawai`i,

e-mailed wondering whether Kaua`i was safe. I told her the truth: Statistically

at least, Kauai’s a lot safer than even a “safe” city on the mainland. But that

doesn’t mean much if you’re the victim of a violent assault.

The truth is,

we all have dreams of that perfect place, full of whatever it is we feel the

real world lacks, be it flawless beauty, perfectly reciprocal love or even an

endless, bunkerless golf course that stretches into infinity with no green fees

to speak of.

I have a step-brother whose perfect world would be a long,

dimly lit bar with no other customers, serviced by three or four beautiful

women, filling his bottomless glass with a fountain of Guinness. There would be

no hangovers in his perfect world, no bloating, no incipient


Don’t get me wrong. There are moments of perfection in this

world. Even someone as disappointedly cynical as I’ve become has a few minutes

every day when I thank God for this beautiful place.

But those moments

are surrounded by moments like Monday when I watched heavily armed police

surrounding a little tract house on a street of little tract houses, fear and

excitement mingled in their faces, and knew yet again that life can take away

as easily as it gives.

It is wonderful to dream, and sometimes dreams come

true. But there are other times when, despite your good intentions, you will

wake up screaming.

It’s best to remember that every silver lining has a

dark cloud, and all of life’s blessings are mixed.

Kaua`i is a beautiful

place, but it is also a part of the modern world. And perfection, if it exists,

is in the world to come, unless that world is yet one more


Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext.

252) and dwilken@pulitzer.net


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