Thoughts on the Bourke St Incident

Four people were killed in the city yesterday. According to different reports, anywhere between twenty and thirty one were injured (according to most recent reports). Of those injured, one is an infant child, currently fighting for life in hospital. That is over twenty lives that were seriously affected by the actions of one man, not including all the relatives and friends of those killed or injured. One man. A man who, for whatever reason, decided to drive down the middle of Bourke St Mall during a busy Friday afternoon, and intentionally run down pedestrians in his car.

I really don’t know what to say. I can’t get in the mindset of someone who would do something like that. Of someone who would act with such reckless abandon, and obvious intent to cause injury.

Anyone who ever insists that one person is incapable of having an impact needs to read the newspaper. A single person has caused death, injury and destruction. The actions of one man affected the public transport system, the day to day lives of countless people who live and work in the city, the Friday afternoon trade. One man is solely responsible for widespread panic and is the embodiment of deep seated fear. Yes, one person can make a difference. But no one said that difference always has to be a good thing.

I got a number of messages and calls yesterday to make sure I was ok. Even some people I don’t know particularly well checked in, and I thought that was really sweet. In the face of tragedy, it’s comforting to know that there are still good people in the world. I work a few streets up from the mall, safely underground and far from dangerous drivers with malicious intent, but I still appreciated that people took the time to check and make sure I was safe.

I really don’t know what else to say, except to tell you to stay safe. The world is a big, crazy, and often dangerous place. And it’s after events like this that we need to stop and remember how fortunate we are. If nothing else, tell someone you love them today. Hug your friend. Kiss your partner long and deep, and mean it. Just…be kind to one another.

Commute

The train car is positively drenched in the stink of stale sweat and halitosis. All about me, commuters engaged in mundane conversation, or plugged into electronic devices. One man keeps staring at me, with a look that implies that he thinks if he stares hard enough, he might be able to discern what I’m wearing underneath my clothes. I stare back, and my gaze is unfailing, my expression immovable, challenging him. He looks away. I win.

I plug into my own iPod, and the dulcet tones  of Tomi Joutsen drown out the world inside the carriage. I could almost lose myself in the music, and the words that fly from my fingers, except for that smell. It’s everywhere. It will probably cling to my clothes long after I’ve exited the train. 

Different faces every day, and yet all exactly the same to me. Nameless. Not in the least bit memorable. The only thing remarkable about these vile hordes of humanity is how utterly unremarkable they are. And yet, in a cruel twist of circumstance, I spend more time with these people than I do my own friends. 

Commuting is the most evil of all necessities.