It's the sort of thing that happens on TV. In other places, perhaps, far away. Not here.
But it did. The shooting that took place over the weekend in the Miller Park Neighborhood claimed seven lives and served as a tragic and all too real reminder that random, unspeakable violence can occur at any time, at any place.
What's so frustrating is there will probably never be any concrete explanation as why the killer, 28-year-old Aaron Kyle Huff, did what he did. While evidently a random event, the vast amounts of weaponry found on Huff and in his car made it clear that his actions were thought out and premeditated.
While the police continue a large-scale investigation, the neighborhood tries to find a way to move on.
One challenge, as hard as this may seem, is not to overreact. Apart from the killer himself, there is probably no one to blame, which is frustrating. But a knee-jerk reaction against organized raves, for instance, cannot prevent what happens at a private home. Steps taken to prevent teens and young adults from attending music events won't prevent a single lunatic from fulfilling his darkest agenda.
The shooting does suggest, yet again, a renewed debate on gun control and access. That perpetual debate has been going on for years; it's pretty sad that it takes a tragedy of this magnitude to remind us of that fundamental issue. It's worth remembering that the vast arsenal of weapons Huff acquired were legal for him to own.
Another challenge, possibly more difficult, is to keep in mind how the neighborhood felt prior to Saturday's carnage. The shooting rampage, while it took place in Miller Park, was not reflective of the neighborhood or the city. Yes, crime is a concern on Capitol Hill. But the shooting was a solitary act by one man, acting for reasons we may never know. The neighborhood is no more dangerous, and no more safe, than it was before Saturday's gunfire.
But it is in some ways a changed place. Amid the leafy, tree-lined streets around Miller Park it is still hard to believe that this sort of tragedy really can happen here. It's not a case of innocence lost, exactly, more a grim reminder that such horrible violence really can happen anywhere at any time. The air feels different today, even sounds different. There is a sound of quiet sadness on the breeze.