We are not so inured to violence that the striking down of a good man passes from our collective awareness in a day.
If we lived in a place where deadly violence was more commonplace, the ripples that roll outward as word of it spreads would dissipate quickly. The death, the loss, the shock would become very local events as the rest of us turn our attention to news of other violence in other places.
That is not what happens here.
Most of us did not know Keith Reed Jr., the superintendent at Clymer Central School who was murdered last Friday at his rural home just north of the village. But Clymer is a nearby neighbor. Our children play the Clymer kids in competitive sports. The Clymer firefighters readily provide mutual aid to surrounding communities. We have friends there and, anyway, everyone is invited to a tulip festival in the spring to celebrate the Dutch heritage of so many Clymer residents.
And so when we read about how well-liked Keith Reed was by folks in general and in particular by students at the school, the community that mourns his loss and is so sadly affected by his murder becomes us all.
Reed grew up in Salamanca. He earned two master's degrees on his professional journey from there to jobs at schools in Horseheads, Campbell, Sherburne and, finally, the school superintendent's post in Clymer. His preference for life in rural small-town New York state is obvious. It is where he lived and worked, it is where he died and it is where he will be remembered and revered for a very long time.
Keith Reed Jr. will be enveloped in the fabric that is the history of Clymer, his memory enshrined and cherished in a way that happens only in a small town.
May God rest his soul and bring comfort to his loved ones.