Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023 |
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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