Walk in the park of thanks

Walking to work through Beacon Hill park on a glorious summertime day, I tip my virtual hat to the squirrels...

Walking to work through Beacon Hill park on a glorious summertime day, I tip my virtual hat to the squirrels, ducks, turtles and occasional bushman, and feel the need to count my blessings.

Sure, I could be curmudgeonly and lament the absence of the native red squirrel who lost out in a secret race war to the human-imported black squirrel; a bullying genocide that happened silently before our eyes. But the sight of a protected great blue heron, shoulders hunched and feathers bedraggled — not unlike the aforementioned bushman — puts the smile back on my face. We’re not perfect, but we occasionally do something right.

As a journalist and thriller writer, I have an imagination that often takes me to unusual places — especially when I scour the news. We have to be thankful that, despite grumblings of the cost and occasional heavy handedness of our local police force, gangs don’t rule our streets or parks like they do elsewhere.

In Mexico this week, for example, 49 bodies without heads, hands or feet were dumped outside the town of Monterrey. And while the gang violence that trades life for life in bursts of unrest on our coastal mainland has been kept within the “known to police” ranks, the victims in Mexico are disturbingly everyday people (bakers, students, brick layers) as rival gangs try to one-up each other with brazen terror tactics.

Not that we are without our own disturbing mysteries. The unsolved murder of 24-year-old Victoria realtor Lindsay Buziak, for example, has prompted her father Jeff Buziak to offer a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer.

I count my blessings and pray that I will never know such pain as Jeff is enduring and hope that someone, somewhere can help ease his suffering and put a killer behind bars.

As I continue my walk, I recall the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event last Saturday where we heard chilling statistics about how many women are victims of sexualized violence every day. But the event also offered hope in the number of men who showed up for the walk to stand united in a pledge that said we won’t put up with it. These men of all ages donned scarily high heels to say: we won’t be the perpetrators, neither will our sons — and we won’t be silent witnesses to any situation that we know is wrong.

Each year, this walk reminds me of a horrifying gang rape that took place near the university grounds. It reminds me that four young rapists are still walking around and that at least one of them must not be able to live with his actions. I’m still waiting for him to turn himself in because I still believe it’s the only way he’s ever going to be able to look in the mirror again.

I count my blessings that I have never been a monster. M

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