Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Northbrook murder close to home but not close to heart

Murder scene

     I live in a village. As villages often do, Northbrook has its own set of quaint local traditions, like the annual pancake breakfast at the Village Presbyterian Church. When the boys were younger we'd never miss one — they have raffles, puppet shows and the Boy Scouts put on a display of knots, a tent and a canoe. One year we used a device to twirl strands of hemp into rope, an important scouting skill, apparently.
     So my wife and I go Saturday, to the 61st installment of what has been deemed a "pancake festival," I assume, because now you can have seconds. We do not particularly want pancakes, but do like to support the community — the breakfast benefits Northbrook's various holiday celebrations through the year.
     We're there, gobbling flapjacks. Sandy Frum, the village president, is pouring coffee. She moseys over, sits down and we chat. She has just been to New Zealand. I steer her toward a more local topic: that new building being constructed on Shermer; what is going to go in it? Another paint store? We've already got two. No, she says, another real estate office.
     I consider asking her about the murder. On Dec. 7 a lawyer, Jigar K. Patel, was strangled in his office, not a block from my house. The police assured the public there is nothing to fear but didn't arrest anybody. Which seemed ominous. If they know who did it, why not arrest the guy? If they don't know, how can they be certain we're safe? Maybe a maniac is stalking Northbrook.
     She would know what the true story is on that.

To continue reading, click here.


  1. Agreed with your third point. A few years ago, the little village that I have lived in for 42 of my 48 years had its first murder in many years, unfortunately just around the corner from my parents' house, and a short drive from my house. Neither I nor my parents personally knew the victim, but gave pause because she was simply a long time resident like many of us in what has amounted to a very stable community. The community was tense for the two weeks following the murder until, inevitably, a family member of the victim was charged (and recently convicted) with her murder. The murder doesn't change the overall positive feelings about my community or the fact that a major incident like that rarely happens, and although you felt sorry for the victim and her loved ones in the moment, the feeling was fleeting as people went back to their own lives and concerns in the days and weeks that followed.

  2. in chicago there are murders that involve 2 people known to one another. crimes of passion. there are also random killings that occur due to socioeconomic circumstances that basically don't exist in a more affluent community. these random killings account for far too many of the total number of murders. this makes for a frightening environment . peoples lives are negatively affected who have no connection to these killings. they worry that their children will be the inadvertent victim of someone choosing to fire a weapon. I'm sure its nice to be able to go back to your own lives and concerns in the days and weeks that follow a murder . even one just around the corner. it must be great to feel it would be rude to talk to the mayor about this at a party. that just aint the case here in chiraq. solutions? sorry got none. maybe ill move to northbrook

  3. "It’s like wishing to be a better person. You can wish all you want. But at the end of the day, you have to be the person you are." But we can do more than wish! We can take steps to change -- I can work to be a better (or worse! at any rate, a changed) person, in terms of trying to help others more, or remaining calm, or not engaging in destructive behaviors or emotions, or eating less or drinking more or exercising or changing habits or hobbies or viewpoints. None of this is to disagree with your conclusion about it being insincere to drum up reaction to something that doesn't touch one. But you don't have to remain the person* you are if you don't wish to.

    *"Person" used in a Western colloquial sense -- Buddhists, philosophers of self, scientists studying consciousness, and others' mileage may vary...

    1. Yes, it's always good to strive for improvement, to practice meditation or deep breathing, or any method of self-reflection. To be more patient, empathetic, to continue education in whatever format one chooses. There have been studies showing a person's basic personality is formed at a fairly young age, but I believe that's too limiting a conclusion.


  4. "No man is an island entire unto itself... Any man's death diminishes me because I'm involved in mankind." Unless I live in Northbrook.

    An unfair linkage, but fun to make. The reverend Donne aside, Neil's recognition that there is much insincerity abroad concerning the modern fashion of lamenting the death of stranger is a point well made.


  5. Some of us who are dry-eyed at funerals get all choked up at movies.


  6. I think the poet already said it:


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.