The news is sadly familiar. This from a report a few days ago:
"A gunman opened fire in a central Florida beauty salon Thursday, killing three women and wounding a fourth before killing himself at a nearby home, police said. The shooting appeared to be part of a domestic dispute."
Three days later, a nearly identical story played out in Brookfield and we watched. But why do we watch?
Of course, that's a rhetorical question. We watch for lots of reasons – out of fear, out of interest, drawn by drama. It is human nature to watch.
I find other questions are a little harder to answer.
Like, what's going on in the suburbs? Folks outside the city seem to believe the real danger is within Milwaukee's limits. But the temple shooting in August was in Oak Creek, last week's armed bank robbery was in Glendale and Sunday's tragedy unfolded in Brookfield. That covers the three compass points of Milwaukee suburban sprawl, and we're stuck with the unsettling reminder that terrible things can happen anywhere.
Like, why did anyone barely notice when three were shot dead in Milwaukee on Friday? Sure, that got a mention on the news. But barely.
Like, are we becoming hardened to this kind of tragedy, even when it occurs in our own backyard? Folks I know that were watching the Packers game said that the news of the Brookfield shooting didn't even warrant a ticker along the bottom of the screen during the game. Even a snowstorm gets that.
Of course, we wonder today, too, about how people didn't see this coming – though, in hindsight, we often ask that – and about the effectiveness of restraining orders in protecting threatened individuals. And, certainly there is the most fundamental of questions: what leads humans to treat other humans this way?
But that circles us right back to the realm of the rhetorical question.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.