Some of you may be aware that my hometown, and my university, have been in the news the last few days, and not for a reason you would ever want to be. The student body president at UNC, a girl named Eve Carson who, by all accounts, was an amazing person, full of compassion and incredibly accomplished, was murdered last Wednesday. This happened in a residential neighborhood, one not very far from a house I lived in when I was a student at UNC. It was a brutal murder, completely random and senseless, and our entire community is reeling from it.
I wanted to write about this on Friday, but I felt, in a way, that it wasn’t my place. I didn’t know Eve Carson, and I felt like it was inappropriate to write here, in this space usually reserved for such fluffy, pop-culture things, about something so serious. But all weekend, I’ve just been thinking about her, and her family, and while I can’t imagine what they must be going through, my heart just breaks for them. I know we live in a dangerous world, and terrible things beyond our comprehension happen every day. But for something like this to happen here, in my hometown, where I have always felt safe, it just….I don’t even know what to say about it. Maybe it’s because I taught at UNC, and had so many incredible, smart girls like Eve in my classes, girls who I knew right off would go on to do amazing things. Or maybe it’s because I have an amazing girl of my own now, one who I wish I knew I could keep safe always, always, always.
I remember when I was teaching one story I always assigned for my students to read was Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” It starts as kind of a funny story, this larger than life southern family heading off on a road trip, and the grandmother manages to take them off course for her own selfish reasons, and you think that’s the worst thing that will happen, that they’ll all be at each other’s throats. But then, when you least expect it, there’s this turn, and something awful and tragic and terrible happens. I remember the first time I read it I kept wanting to put the story down, stop, because it was just too random and awful, and my students often said the same thing. It was just so scary BECAUSE it could happen to you, to anybody. And we want there to be reasons for things. But sometimes….you just don’t get that. And it’s terrible, and makes you look out at the dark in a different way, and sleep not so well at night. That’s what we’ve been doing, all of us, around there the last few days.
I know this is not the most uplifting entry for your Monday morning, and for that, I apologize. But even in the rush of fun TV shows and celeb crushes and discussions of pastry, reality does butt in, once in a while. I just felt like I wanted to tell someone, anyone, how sorry I was that this happened. That’s all.