Thursday, July 23, 2009

Searching for answers

Whenever tragedy strikes – especially the punch-in-the-gut kind that was inflicted on families in Ridley and Chester this week - we look for answers.

Surely there must be an explanation for the kind of rage that snuffed out the life of Andrea Arrington, and then drove Aaron Michael to confront Chester police, the same police officers who worked side by side with his father.

We wonder what could have been done to prevent this kind of tragedy.

We want a tidy way to explain the unexplainable.

It doesn’t work that way.

You wonder why Michael wasn’t picked up earlier when he violated the protection from abuse order that Arrington had gotten against him.

Then you learn more about the process and find out that there is truth to that old axiom about the wheels of justice turning slowly. In this case, that was just slow enough.

You wonder about the fact that two children had died previously while in Michael’s care. When you hear that moments before his fatal encounter with Chester police that he had called friends and admitted he was also responsible for their deaths, you wonder why no red flags were raised when the second incident occurred.

Then you learn that there were. And you learn that proving that, from the officers who investigated the case, to the D.A.’s office and the Medical Examiner who could not reach a definitive conclusion, leaving them both “undetermined,” is another matter altogether.

And you’re left to simply shake your head at what happened, at the four lives lost, and the families and communities shaken to their core.

And you ask why, only to realize there is no easy answer.

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