Editorial: Shootings call for understanding

Support for families in midst of unanswered questions


What to say when unexplainable, unimaginable nightmares unfold in a community?

It is not that Northern New Mexico is a stranger to violence. People are murdered every year in Taos and Río Arriba counties, where last Thursday's shootings occurred. But the strange set of events that unfolded on June 15 were beyond the pale, even for this region.

What happened that day is the kind of event that shatters our illusions that things happen for a reason. It unbalances us. It leaves us with questions that may never be answered.

What would prompt a young man to allegedly pull a gun and shoot five people, three of them family, including a beloved brother, and two of them strangers? He didn't have a criminal record. He graduated from high school and was attending college. People who knew him said he was quiet, but congenial.

Anything said about his motives behind allegedly picking up a gun and shooting is speculation.

Some blame drugs. Some say he harbored an anger set off too easily by an argument. Some wonder if he has a mental illness. Some have simply called him evil.

There remain so many unknowns. And whatever investigators finally determine was the cause or motive behind the shootings, it won't change the shattered hearts and lives left behind.

A girl lost not three - but really four - members of her family in a matter of minutes, including the brother who is accused of the crime.

Two women each lost a life partner of decades and the fathers of their children.

The residents in La Madera enveloped them all with prayer, including the young man from the village who is accused of the shootings.

We should do the same.

We may never understand why this terrible nightmare happened.

But we can be understanding while holding up those left behind to deal with the aftermath.