Tuesday, January 22, 2008

These headlines are gettin' me down

It's officially here. The winter slump. As I look out my office window these days I see nothing buy gray. Gray sky. Gray branches. Gray fence. It's just gross. And cold. There's nothing worse than gross and cold.

The days are short, so contact with sunshine is pretty much limited to my five minute walk to work, that is of course, assuming that the sun has actually decided to come out. Unlike today. Gray. Blegh.

And with the gray sky and bitter weather comes the winter depression. Most days, the only thing I can think of enjoying is sitting on my couch, drowning myself in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Cold weather person I am not.

But maybe it isn't just the cold that's been getting me down. It seems like bad news has been cropping up in Philadelphia papers more often than usual. Or maybe in my winter state, I'm just a bit more in tune.

There's the royally messed up story about the two men who beat a 17-year-old mother to death, threw her body into the Pennsauken river, then argued over what to do with her 5-week-old baby, before abandoning him on a Cherry Hill lawn.

Then there's the old man in Drexel Hill who shot his 53-year-old blind daughter because he didn't think anyone else could care for her after he died. Which, incidentally, didn't take long because he then shot himself, after shooting their dog.

And how about Philadelphia Weekly re-examining the gruesome murder of a 14-year-old girl in Lebanon, Pa.? That shit's straight out of "In Cold Blood." With an even more fucked up twist.

There's nothing new about murder in Philadelphia. But the details of the killing are what are most chilling. All that over a debt? What the hell is wrong with people?

What is a bit more eerie are the murders outside of the city. In Drexel Hill, the town that I grew up in, the town of cookie cutter lawns and back yard clubs, murder isn't something you hear of every day. In fact, it's something you almost never hear. And the story behind this execution-style "mercy killing" is disturbing.

I'm sure blindness is a challenging condition to live with. But people do live with it. And in fact, there's no reason blind people shouldn't live long, successful, independent lives. The fact that this old man thought that he was the only one who could care for his daughter only testifies to how deranged this he was. Just goes to show you, you never really know your neighbors until they take a shotgun and blow out the brains of everyone in their house. And their little dog, too.

And to top the list of disturbing shit of the week (Lord have mercy, it's only Tuesday), the story of young Peggy Reber's slaughter and violation is one of the most grizzly murder stories I've ever read (OK, OK, this was technically published last week, but I got to it late). The mere fact that people exist out there who are even capable of carrying out such horrendous acts is terrifying.

So maybe it isn't just the weather that's been getting me down. Maybe it's because it's just too damn scary to leave the house this week. At least at home I have my vicious part-Beagle, part-Lab, part-hound, part-whatever to protect me.


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