The horrific news of the murder of a St. Johnsbury teacher has everyone in Vermont stunned. These things just don't happen here where the air is relatively clean, the people are generally helpful and caring, and we often walk around at all hours without fear. It is always a relief to return home after time away because it appears, on the surface and in our homes, that Vermont is a safe haven. But there is evil everywhere, sometimes even in our own backyards.
My heart goes out to her two year old son who may have seen the whole thing, and I think back to when my son was two. He would have been very aware of what was going on, even at 9:00 at night. He probably would have been half-asleep, making it a nightmare he may keep having throughout his life. It appears that Melissa had a strong support system in her family, friends, co-workers and students that will be there to support her little boy as he grows and deals with what will be a horrible memory.
I don't think Vermonters will change their style of living and giving mutual aid when asked, but an event like this does give us pause. Perhaps we should be a little more careful when a friend reports creepy phone calls or odd requests for help. In our neighborhood we do watch out for each other, realizing that many of us are aging. But we should remember that listening to intuition and speaking up can be OK and may well save a life.