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Ron Cruger
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
What happened to our heroes?
Wise up, America
The Starbucks 7 on the Presidency
A special birthday: Heading for 100
Bye Bye Big Banks
The Infatuation
Republican, Democrat or what?
The image of America
Mitt versus Barack, who wins?
Ms. Evelyn Shapiro's death
The do-nothing candidates
It changed the world
       The article appeared on page 15 in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. The headline read, “Woman, 88, Is Killed in Bronx Apartment.” Just another murder in the Bronx.
       Reading about this murder struck me in an abstract and a profound manner. Reading about the brutality of the event sent icy shivers up and down my spine.
       I don’t know why, but I tore out the page containing the news of the Shapiro death and put it on my desk. I’ve re-read the article 5 times.
       Ms. Shapiro lived in the Pelham Parkway Houses in the Bronx, not far from where I was born. She lived alone. She was in her 80’s. Neighbors said she was a well-dressed, agreeable woman who remained independent and active. She still drove her own car and did her own grocery shopping.
       Last Saturday morning Ms. Shapiro was beaten to death after returning from her supermarket shopping. Ms. Shapiro suffered head trauma.
       Grocery bags and their contents were scattered around Mrs. Shapiro’s body, which lay just inside her fifth-floor apartment. The door to her apartment was unlocked and slightly ajar, with no sign of forced entry according the police. After the discovery of Mrs. Shapiro’s body the police found additional grocery bags in her car downstairs.
       Norma Rodriguez, commenting on the crime, said, “It makes me worried.” Herma Williams, president of the housing project’s residents’ association, said Mrs. Shapiro baby-sat for neighbors, visited landmarks in Manhattan and drove a blue Toyota Camry that she kept parked near the six-story building.
       “She had her wits about her,” Mrs. Williams said. “She was cognizant of her surroundings.”
       The police and Mrs. Williams said that Ms. Shapiro’s apartment had been ransacked. No weapon has been found.
       Describing Ms. Shapiro, her neighbor, Lisa Velez, said, that Ms. Shapiro always seemed to wear makeup, well-tailored clothes and gold jewelry. Ms. Velez said that Ms. Shapiro told her that she wore the jewelry when she was out and about because she was afraid it would be stolen if she left it behind in the apartment.
       Police said that detectives would determine where Ms. Shapiro had bought her groceries and look for footage from surveillance cameras between the store and her home to see if they could find images of anyone following her.
       As of today the police have made no arrests in the death of Ms. Shapiro. Life in the Bronx goes on. Somewhere in the Bronx, or Brooklyn or Queens – somewhere in New York someone is preparing to sell Ms. Shapiro’s jewelry. It won’t bring a lot of money. Memories come cheap.
       Somewhere, someone carries a memory of beating Ms. Shapiro to death. Of striking a pleasant 88-year old woman until her life ended.
       I don’t know exactly why the New York Times article about Ms. Shapiro had such a deep effect on me. Perhaps because it illustrates the impermanent , fleeting nature of all of our lives.
       One minute we are all like Ms. Shapiro. Living our lives, innocently returning to the warmth of our homes.
       “She was very sweet,” Ms. Velez said of Ms. Shapiro. “I feel so heartbroken.”
       So do I.
Disappearing! Gone! Kaput!