Feature

Editor's Letter: Collision insurance: A knife vs. a kiss

There are 8 million people in New York City, and sometimes they bump in into each other, as Sirmone McCaulla and Christopher Gutierrez did on the sidewalk.

There are 8 million people in New York City and about that many in the surrounding suburbs. Sometimes they collide, as Sirmone McCaulla and Christopher Gutierrez did. “I just got off the bus from New Jersey,” McCaulla, 28, later recalled on his Facebook page, “was just tryin’ to make it home to see my daughter.” Instead, McCaulla said, he and Gutierrez bumped into each other on the sidewalk and Gutierrez, 20, got aggressive, as young males sometimes do. The incident ended when McCaulla plunged a knife into Gutierrez three times, killing him. In his Facebook statement, which served as McCaulla’s farewell before he took his own life, he explained: “When someone is tryin’ to hurt me I get defensive.”

That same weekend, my teenage boy sauntered off to his high school’s football game. The games are usually held at night, but this one took place on a Saturday morning, the better to ward off violence. Some kids at his high school hate some kids at the rival school and vice versa. My son doesn’t know why—not that Jets and Sharks have ever needed a reason. The switch to daylight was occasioned by a shooting at a night game a few years back, and a street brawl last year. The gunplay has the aura of suburban legend, but I suppose it’s true. Like other suburbs, ours is not immune to violence, and our kids surely know the adolescent allure of acting tough. So before my boy walked out, I made a point of kissing his forehead. It doesn’t help, I know. But it’s the only collision insurance I’ve got.

Francis Wilkinson

Recommended

ISIS confirms its leader was killed, does not provide details
A militant is seen holding the flag of ISIS in 2015.
Another One Gone

ISIS confirms its leader was killed, does not provide details

Court rejects plan by Dutch national park to control wolf population with paintballs
A European grey wolf seen in the Netherlands.
Not A Great Idea

Court rejects plan by Dutch national park to control wolf population with paintballs

French baguette awarded UNESCO heritage status
French Baguettes
rising to the top

French baguette awarded UNESCO heritage status

2 Chinese cities ease COVID-19 restrictions as protesters pledge to continue
Officials test pedestrians in China for COVID-19.
Making Changes

2 Chinese cities ease COVID-19 restrictions as protesters pledge to continue

Most Popular

World's 1st hydrogen-powered jet engine could mark turning point for aviation industry
A Rolls-Royce engine seen during an airshow.
Flying High

World's 1st hydrogen-powered jet engine could mark turning point for aviation industry

Everything to know about the storm poised to pummel the South
Tornado
Storm Watch

Everything to know about the storm poised to pummel the South

Why did Merrick Garland appoint a special counsel to investigate Trump?
Trump, Garland, and Smith.
Briefing

Why did Merrick Garland appoint a special counsel to investigate Trump?