Violent crime shocks our sensibilities.
The horrific murder of Kyle Martz in our community is especially shocking. It’s senseless and incomprehensible. The depraved act of an individual took Martz’s life, and stole from Martz’s family, friends and acquaintances a lifetime of his potential.
There is a deep sense of sadness being shared throughout our community as we all come to terms with what happened. And there is anger and frustration that it happened at all.
We are all grieving.
Police have in custody a suspect who they say has confessed to the crime. Their quick work in apprehending the suspect is the first step of a long healing process in our community. We will likely learn more details from the police investigation.
We might also learn some explanation beyond what now appears to be a random, brutal act. We should ensure our justice officials have the time and resources to thoroughly complete this work.
The suspect has been identified as being a transient from Heppner, Ore., which likely means he was living in homelessness.
Walla Walla, like small towns and big cities throughout our country, is dealing with homelessness and its impacts. It is a complex problem, even as there are some encouraging signs of progress.
All of us want reasons when horrible things happen, though in truth they are not always there. It might be easy to point our fingers at others here who live in homelessness. But it’s wrong.
To vilify all those in our community who are experiencing homelessness because one such person confessed to a horrific murder is not helpful. It does not solve the issue of homelessness. It does not solve Martz’s murder.
Homelessness by itself is not at fault.
Many in our community continue to work to resolve issues around homelessness. This is hard work with no easy or simple answers. We need to keep that work focused and productive.
It is right to ask questions of our elected representatives and the police and to expect honest answers. It’s also helpful to understand the many complexities these people are trying to work through.
Sincere participation in this effort is open for anyone to commit to.
The murder of Martz, a 35-year-old Whitman College employee, is tragic and horrifying. Our community is grieving. This is the time for us all to be our best, to put our most supportive efforts into understanding and working together.
We are a strong community, well-known for our ability to come together for the common good. Let’s put that use.