We all know that there is murder and then there’s murder.
The distinctions between one and the other are obvious and complex. Understandable and dehumanizing.
It is as raw and as close to home as last year’s stunning murder of Peter D’Agostino, the UIC professor who was beaten to death during daylight hours in South Oak Park. That unsolved murder still reverberates in emotional and unsettling ways across our community.
Then yesterday Oak Park had a murder. For those in the immediate vicinity of Division and Cuyler, it is certainly a trauma. Middle of the night gunshots. Cops and bright lights.
For Oak Parkers awakening to TV news helicopters hovering over town, and early TV news reports it was surely disturbing.
But as the day unfolded, especially in these accelerated, Web sped news cycles, there was almost a sigh of relief as word came down of who was dead.
What did we learn?
A black man. West Sider. Young but with a long, long criminal history. No exact home address. Gang-links. On parole. Funny nickname. Big hair.
The key word from our police department was “spillover.” This was not an Oak Park-centered crime. This was a crime that normally takes place on Central Avenue not on Cuyler. This was a crime that doesn’t normally earn helicopters or treatment on page one of the Trib’s Metro section.
It just happened to happen in Oak Park because some gangster’s GPS system wasn’t working.
So we don’t worry so long. We don’t care so much. We are not so worried that this murder gets solved. We won’t be following the court case, assuming it does get solved.
Our collective reactions all make sense. They are still disturbing.