A shooting in Green Valley is almost impossible to comprehend. The bulk of the community is age-restricted so the median age is north of 70. It's not that everyone is too busy with shuffleboard but these are gentle, quiet retired folk.
The man who was shot was 28, the shooter 35. A domestic dispute between the 28-year-old and his girlfriend found her running to the neighbor's house and finally escaping her boyfriend. She heard a shot and then the boyfriend drove off -- only to go off the road just around the corner and die from his injuries.
It goes to show that you never know who is armed and when they will feel compelled to use it. That's especially true in Arizona where it is legal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
Not that laws stop the killings, as we've seen recently in Aurora, Colo., and outside Milwaukee. All the weapons in Colorado were legally purchased along with thousands of rounds of ammo. The gun used in Milwaukee was also apparently purchased legally.
America is awash in guns of all varieties. I own some and know plenty of people who also own firearms.
I know the old canard -- guns don't kill people, people kill people. But the first weapon of choice when people kill people is a gun, plain and simple.
And it's harder than the dickens to figure out who the nutcases are out there and to stop them from buying and using guns on others.
America is also the place where the National Rifle Association looms large on the political front and any discussion about gun control is immediately met with wailing and gnashing of teeth -- our guns are being taken away, freedom is in jeopardy, how dare you think my guns are a danger. We just can't hold a reasoned discussion of the issue of people with too easy access to a vast pool of firearms.
So the mass shootings will go unabated into the future, with unstable individuals able to freely buy their weapons of choice and use them in the most horrific ways. Politicians will issue their condolences, funerals will be held and nothing, nothing at all will be changed.
And that's sad.
A poor turnout
Working the election last week found me taking a guess with my fellow election inspectors about how many voters in Petoskey's second ward would vote -- and I guessed somewhere between 275 and 315, or about a quarter of the registered voters.
We tabulated 247 votes out of nearly 1,100 voters, which is below a quarter and below my prediction. And our vote total was higher than the other three city wards.
It's a sad commentary that in a place where people are freely able to cast their ballots so few do.
Even if you didn't care about the candidates, there was an Emmet County issue on how millage is allocated that should have piqued your interest. But no, stuck under 25 percent is where the day's tallies rested.
I'm sure there will be many more voters at the polls come Nov. 6, being a presidential election year and all, but really for some political contests, last Tuesday was the day that counted. If you don't think so ask Marilyn May here in Emmet County or John Jarema in Charlevoix County.
In both cases those who went out and voted made the choice for you if you didn't vote.
All elections count. Make sure your right to vote becomes your responsibility to vote -- each and every time.
With a twinkle in her eye and a great laugh, Myrtle "Mert" Johnston ruled the roost when she owned Johnston's Restaurant in downtown Harbor Springs, what's now the New York Restaurant.
The restaurant was the local spot where the Kiwanis Club met in the back room, the firefighters gathered after they helped Santa Claus with the annual Christmas visit or after a big fire, where some of the good old boys and this young one gathered in the pre-dawn darkness to have boiling hot coffee brewed up by the late Bob Squier who opened up with his own key.
There was a large turnout at Mert's funeral last week and that's how it should be for someone whom many of us can still see in our mind's eye working the grill behind the counter at Johnston's. That's where she was happy, and if Mert was happy, it meant all the rest of us were happy too because we were all sharing life -- the good life -- in downtown Harbor Springs.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at email@example.com.