There was a movie released in the 70’s called Little Murders and I remember it affected me so strongly when I saw it. The entire movie took place inside a city apartment. Someone is shooting people, a sniper it is believed. The shooting escalates. There is speculation about whether there is a single sniper or multiple shooters. Is it a conspiracy, or is this like the ripples spreading on a pond – just a matter of random individuals who do not want to be passive victims, who arm themselves for purposes of defense? People, especially the men, come and go from the apartment, but we only see them at home. They are an upper middle class family at the beginning of the film. By the end of the film they have purchased weapons to defend themselves with. They eat in their shirtsleeves and they tear into their food like animals. Although they look quite satisfied and empowered, we see society slipping back into the dark ages. Cheerful, huh? Not – I felt like running into a bridge abutment on my way home.
But this does not seem so different from what goes on in certain neighborhoods in my city where young people regularly attack each other with guns and knives, sometimes from the relative safety of cars, sometimes face to face, sometimes in the back. Then other groups of young people seek vengeance and the dying just goes on and on, so many promising young lives wasted. It’s not all childish stuff, some of it is very adult and very dangerous. As fellow residents we are all affected by these “nightmare” activities. We grieve everyday with the families and the community. We lose the freedom of our own streets, the “quiet enjoyment” of our city. And everyone’s spirits become infected with that same depression I felt after watching that Little Murders movie. Saddest of all we don’t seem to know how to stop it.