I was going to post something a little more upbeat and useful today, but I live in Kirkwood, Missouri, where last night this guy went crazy and killed five people at city hall. The mayor (who lives 3 blocks from me) is in the hospital still, possibly dying. The councilwoman I was planning to vote for as next mayor is dead. The gunman, Cookie Thornton, is dead, as are two police officers and two more city officials.
Cookie Thornton went to high school with my husband, and he was quite the character about town--generally upbeat and well liked, but over the years increasingly combative. This feud with city hall has been going on for some time. I first became aware of it about three or four years ago, when our kids had to attend a city council meeting for boy scouts. It was in October, and Cookie had taken a couple of bales of hay from an arrangement they had outside city hall, and he lugged them upstairs and put them in the meeting room so there were little wisps of straw all over. Well, the powers-that-be were making him clean up after the mess he made, so as we left the meeting he was on his knees in the middle of the aisle picking up straw, being as obstructive as he could and singing, "Oh it's good to be a free slave in ." He was laughing and joking with people, and we stopped to talk to him for a moment, and for some time after that we sang that song when the circumstances seemed to warrant it.
One thing I like about this community is that most people seem to acknowledge this tragedy has six victims, including Cookie.