Posts Tagged ‘shooting’

In the aftermath of murder, small lessons emerge

December 14, 2012

Author’s note: This is the third and probably final of three posts that I’ve written this week about my reaction to homicide. The earlier entries appeared on Wednesday and Thursday. Also, this item provides a little context for this story. Thank you for your interest in my blog!

***

I rarely take well to sudden or significant changes. Adjusting to someone’s new haircut; preparing to move to another city, or even another house; embarking on a new job, or departing an old one — all these transitions stress me in different ways.

The murder of Mohammed Arfan Sundal, the smiling man whose Indian restaurant was near my house, was the most sudden and significant change possible. As I tried to come to grips with the news the morning after his killing, I could feel my hands trembling. I spent much of Friday doing what I normally do — tweeting, reading, shopping for groceries — but nothing really felt normal.

I’ve written earlier about my work as a daily newspaper reporter and how it connected me, for the first time in my life, to various shocking and tragic murders. But the difference between the slayings I covered and the one at the Kabab and Curry House was that I’d never known any of those victims when they’d been alive.

I didn’t spend much time wondering about why or how Mohammed had been killed, or by whom. Reporters frequently seem to solve murders in movies or TV shows, but I never had. The truth, hopefully, would come out after the police made an arrest.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Death and the cub reporter: My life and murder

December 13, 2012

Author’s note: This is the second entry in a series of related posts that began on Wednesday. I also posted this prologue the previous week. Thank you very much for reading!

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I had lived a few relatively comfortable decades before I first got involved with murder. Then I changed careers and became a reporter for a small-town North Carolina newspaper.

I wasn’t officially the crime reporter at the paper. Then again, the paper was so small that sometimes I had to handle whatever kind of news story broke. The three-county area that we covered wasn’t home to that many people, but unfortunately, it seemed to have more than its share of crime.

And actually, one of my assignments was covering an entire county. Usually, that meant covering the local governing council and school board. But sometimes, it meant covering crime — and typically, the kind of crime we were interested in was murder. One of the years I worked the beat was astonishingly bloody: If memory serves, there were eight slayings in a county of about 20,000 people.

One night a man, apparently made paranoid by cocaine, starting shooting the folks on his driveway. Two died; one managed to escape despite a serious wound. It was the county’s first multiple homicide in many years. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering the man behind the counter

December 12, 2012

Author’s note: This entry, the first of a few related posts, is self-explanatory. However, the preceding this earlier item provides a little additional background. Thanks for your interest in my blog!

***

Mohammed was his name — I think.

I don’t remember precisely when I met him or under what circumstances. But my memory, too often elastic and elusive, produces this recollection.

The first time I went into Kabab and Curry House, I think, one table was occupied and another recently had been. I could tell that there had been customers at the other table because the used items remained there. There was one server, a woman who seemed to have little English, but she had little interest in clearing up after customers. I remember waiting a little longer than I’d have preferred to get my food.

I met and slowly got to know Mohammed over the course of my next few visits to the restaurant. I always ordered takeout, since the interior was so drab and my house was so close.

I quickly learned that Mohammed was the main man at Kabab and Curry House. He spoke excellent English, unlike the rather withdrawn servers I encountered. Mohammed often ran the register. He also cooked the food, which I hadn’t initially realized. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to my neighborhood: A highly selective guided tour of the place where I live

December 7, 2012

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 7, 2012

Author’s note: I edited this entry slightly on Dec. 11, 2012, to correct the spelling of kabab (not kabob, as I originally had it) in a restaurant name. I’ll link to follow-up posts to this item once they’re online. Thanks for reading! MEM 

***

In the fall of 2011, I moved out of a very nice but bug-ridden old two-bedroom house in a lovely neighborhood. My new home, which was a much smaller and somewhat more affordable two-bedroom house, was just a mile away. Naturally, the neighborhood was…not quite as nice.

Not that there’s anything wrong with my neighbors, I hasten to add. The only ones I have spoken to live to one side of my house and across the street, and they’re fine. There are some other folks nearby whom I’ll wave at, but to whom I’ve really not spoken. Everyone seems pleasant. It’s basically a lower-middle class or working-class area.

A few families seem to be on their way up. Many are basically holding in place, including some older folks and people whom I see often enough that they may be on disability or else unemployed. A few might be on their way down. Some of the houses look lovely; rather more of them have a certain air of neglect and subtly advancing chaos that are at the least less elegant. There is a house near mine that appears to be vacant but has not been boarded up or vandalized.

The foot traffic that passes my house is much more diverse than the folks I used to see in my old home. There are definitely some sketchy people about. But I’ve never felt particularly nervous in my neighborhood.  Read the rest of this entry »

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