I’m in New York and there’s been a murder. A man murdered a state trooper who responded to a call that a man was suicidal. His name is Nicholas Clark and he’s from the little town I’m in. He came back here for his burial. Hundreds of cars, at least a hundred motorcycles (all state troopers) escorted the hearse. I could see the whole procession from the front porch and hear the bagpipes as they played “Amazing Grace.” People lined the street and for some time I was disgusted by it. That people turned a families grief into some sort of spectacle with their folding lawn chairs lining up on the sidewalk as if there were a parade. I was very uncomfortable with the situation. I thought that the family deserved to have their graveside service private. Their grief is their own, not ours to gawk at.
But once the majority of cars were in and through the cemetery I saw people approaching state troopers who were directing traffic (what little there was), but they were standing outside of their cars and off their motorcycles. Each person was thanking the troopers for their service and saying they were sorry for the troopers’ loss.
It surprised me. I was disgusted with these people, but really they were showing a unity and support that I hadn’t expected. It was a good surprise. It pleased me to see this side of people, The sad affair of an officer responding, trying to help people and being killed because of it is tragic and shows an ugly side of humanity. These people in this crowd were there in support and union in the loss, the tragic and unnecessary loss of a life. The loss of the potential he had to help people, to raise his children, be there for his family and friends through the good times and the bad. Thinking of all that might’ve been brings tears to my eyes and makes me question whether people are mostly good or not.
The event makes me think not, but the response of the public makes me think we do have something good about us.