[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]
Saturday’s Los Angeles Times features a story on the short life and horrific death of Kirsten Brydum, a 25-year-old woman who, in the tradition of Jack Kerouac, set out last summer on a two-month road trip that ended with her murder in New Orleans.
Brydum, the story says, “arrived in New Orleans in late September with a rail pass, a little red notebook and a head full of ideas about the oppressive forces of capitalism and government, and how they might be replaced with something better.” She hoped to contribute to the post-Katrina rebirth of New Orleans. Instead, she was shot four times in the face and dumped in the city’s 9th Ward. The murder remains unsolved.
I must emphasize that in writing what follows I am not blaming Brydum for the fate that befell her. In an ideal world a lone petite woman should be free to roam about as she pleases without fear. But it is not an ideal world, and few cities in America are as far removed from the ideal as is New Orleans. Which brings me to the point that some may find objectionable and even insulting to Brydum’s memory. No insult is intended, but if Brydum’s death is to be remembered as anything other than another unsolved murder in the country’s most dangerous city, one must draw the lessons one can from the tragedy.
Brydum was a woman of the political left, which I again say is not to relieve her killer from even a trace of moral culpability for her death. But among the criticisms we conservatives have of people on the left is their naiveté when it comes to responding to evil. Modern liberals, as contrasted with pre-1960s liberals, often seem unable to respond to or even recognize malevolence when it presents itself. The results can be disastrous, both for individuals and for nations.
In my long career as a police officer I’ve counseled the young cops I’ve been entrusted to train that they should not go about in the belief that everyone out on the streets will try to kill them. But neither should they forget that there are people out there who, if given the chance, will.
You don’t have to be a cop to take my advice.