I’m a city-dweller. I was born in the city, raised in the city, spent my entire life in the city and will in all likelihood die in the city. I hear stories of country life, and all I can do is smile – I have no reference point to that sort of livestyle whatsoever.
Living in the city comes with certain challenges. Cars, smog, congestion, crime – these are the unavoidable hallmarks of city life. The latter one – crime – is one that gets a lot of attention from politicians, particularly during election cycles, as no one likes the idea of a crime-ridden city. Here in Los Angeles, they’ve done a good job of keeping the rates pretty acceptable, and the gang violence is much less than it was in decades past. But that doesn’t mean that walking the streets of Los Angeles is necessarily safe …
By all accounts, Lily Burk was a great kid. Smart, funny, creative, this was a young girl who would go far. But fate apparently had a different idea. A week ago, the 17-yr-old was running errands for her mother, picking up some papers from her office at Southwestern Law School on Wilshire. She left the school, but never made it home. A couple of cryptic phone call were made about trouble using her ATM card to get money, then nothing – until her lifeless body was found the next morning near Skid Row in Downtown LA.
You’ve heard of “wrong place, wrong time”? That’s going to go on her tombstone. Lily had the misfortune of walking down Wilshire Place at the wrong time and running into a drunk, stoned ex-con names Charles Samuel, who saw her as a target of opportunity. He kidnapped her, forced her to try and get money from the ATM and, when that didn’t work, killed her. The stupid bastard was arrested shortly thereafter as he walked down a nearby street, beer in hand, crackpipe in pocket, and clothes splattered with blood.
This is one of those unexplainable acts that make you question the existence of God. I mean, how does a benevolent deity justify allowing a beautiful, intelligent, talented 17-yr-old girl to have her throat slashed by a drunk, homeless ex-con?
I have a friend who attends Southwestern Law, and I’ve picked her up from school before. It’s one of those neighborhoods like many in LA, faded from one-time glory but slowly recovering as a new group of people move in. The school itself occupies the iconic Bullock’s Wilshire building (the famous “Tea Room” is now the school cafeteria), and it was from just outside this building that Lily was abducted. I can remember sitting in the car waiting, thinking that this probably wasn’t a neighborhood I’d want to spend a lot of time in after dark (as it was at the time). But Lily was taken on a bright sunny morning.
When you put enough people into one area, you’re bound to get the good and the bad. In this case, good met bad, and bad won. If justice truly works, good will get a chance to repay bad one day. It’s just a shame that the mercy that will be shown Charles Samuel when he is killed was absent last Friday for Lily Burk.