Living each day much muchier
I can’t remember anything like this in 37 years [in the police force],” Mr Lay said. “It’s just extraordinary the impact it’s had on our community.
Chief Commissioner Ken Lay in The Age, 1 October 2012
What inspired such a strong, public response to the death of Jill Meagher?
1. We followed Jill’s story from missing to murdered over a matter of days.
Missing person stories begin the same way. A family member pleads for information. Days, weeks, months pass. Years maybe.
The public forgets.
One day, there’s two paragraphs on page 5 about bones and a DNA test. It doesn’t mean much.
2. The crime had absolutely nothing to do with Jill Meagher.
It wasn’t a crime of passion. No-one’s jilted lover turned violent. No-one profited. Jill wasn’t a casualty of a difficult and dangerous life. She didn’t go down in a plane crash. There were no tidal waves or bombs.
It was brutal and anonymous. Jill had a random encounter with a stranger.
What gripped us was the mortal horror that it could have been anyone. Anyone at all.
It happened on a street we walk down at a time we might be out. It happened to a woman who was dressed appropriately and walking in a lit, populated area.
3. It’s not how stories are supposed to end.
Jill should have been found a few days later, disoriented but okay. She should have been reunited with her distraught husband. The story should have ended with word of caution from the police about sticking with your friends.
Instead, Jill’s ordeal ended in the crudest manner. We don’t know how hard she struggled. We don’t know whether she almost got away. All we know is that she was discarded on a lonely roadside like a McDonalds wrapper. The public are howling with dismay. There is no cause to blame or rail against. It was just a man on the street.
So why is this a Muchness post? We are too comfortable in our daily lives, too removed from threat and death. We rely on the government to create safe spaces and we litigate when accidents happen. We outsource the fragility and beauty of life to someone else.
What happened to Jill could happen to anyone.
Your life is fragile and beautiful. Wake up.