I keep checking the news to see if the Richmond Police are any closer to finding the murderers of Ravi and Parmi, the owners of the Sahib Restaurant who were killed about a week ago. Unlike many murders which get only the briefest mention in the paper and then completely drop out of the public eye, this murder has not gone unnoticed. Perhaps it was the random nature of the crime, the good nature of the victims, and the fact that the Sikh community, of which the victims were a part, are hurt and outraged, and quite frankly fed up with the violence that has been directed towards those in their community. Unlike some gang kid who gets murdered and who is only known to their friends and family, the Kalsis brothers were known to many as the kind, gracious men who had served them many a good meal. Food has a way of creating an instant intimacy.
When I have spoken to people about this crime, everyone can instantly see the tragedy: two hard working brothers come to the US and create for themselves the American dream and then are murdered for no apparent reason. It’s the last part that gets people shaking their heads. Not that being murdered in the course of a robbery would make it OK, but at least it could be understood. But, for two young thugs to kill these two gentle men for seemingly no reason? It makes no sense. Which is probably for the best. For it to make sense, we would have to accept the idea we are all potential prey for thrill killers. Even if the reason for people committing a crime seem completely deluded, at least we can point to a reason. And somehow by understanding the reason, we feel we can keep ourselves safe.
From my own personal experience as a victim of violent crime, I know that safety is an illusion, and justice, for most victims, is merely a dream. I’ve accepted this for myself. It took some work and many years of confused pain, but I’m at peace with what happened to me and no longer have any anger towards those who harmed me. While my view may seem cynical or resigned, it is not. It is realistic. Of course, we take reasonable precautions to keep ourselves and others safe, and we strive for justice (true justice – not justice that is merely revenge in a palatable disguise). We just need to not grasp at safety or justice as something that is guaranteed. It will only get us stuck in anger and frustration
After years of asking “why me?” and self-medicating with alcohol, and then more years of therapy and learning to accept “shit happens”, it wasn’t until I met Buddha’s teachings on karma and compassion that I was truly able to heal (which I’ll write about at another time). But what about others? It’s one thing for me to be a peace, but here in Richmond and elsewhere so many others are suffering the effects of violence. At a recent town-hall meeting, the usual solutions are called for; more police, more jobs, better education, etc. And no doubt we need all of the above. But for us to have peace in our homes and on our streets, it starts with peace within each person. And how do you implement or mandate that?
Despite my cynicism, that storm did indeed pack a punch. But the end result was just inconvenience and some property damage, so nothing too awful. The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was closed due to not one, not two, not three, but four overturned big rigs (two in each direction). My house overlooks the freeway right before tollbooths on the Richmond side. It appeared as if it were the end of the world. The highway was dead empty, with the exception of a few stray cars who obviously hadn’t been listening to the radio. So, I would watch them go westbound, and about a minute later, back eastbound.