Richard Ziegler was probably smiling as he wrote it; the instruction to his lawyers that, following cremation, his ashes should be interred in his fishing tackle box.
I smiled too, when I read the line in isolation on a newsfeed. I was going to admire his style and gently second-guess his wisdom, arguing that the point of cremation is to avoid burial, in favour of having your ashes scattered at a favourite place; a soothing formality for those of us with a buried-alive phobia.
All that was rendered irrelevant, however, by the grisly events that triggered those instructions just 11 days ago.
“Ziegler was living in a fifth-wheel trailer on his property when authorities believe Shawn Matthew Roe approached him Saturday afternoon — apparently to steal Ziegler’s white pickup truck.
Authorities say Roe had abandoned his van on a road near Ziegler’s property after shooting to death Kristine Fairbanks, a U.S. Forest Service officer, at a campground about five miles farther south in the Olympic Mountains.
He then apparently walked to the building site where Ziegler was outside late Saturday afternoon. Later Saturday, Ziegler’s body was found on the property for which he just received a septic permit to build his retirement house.
Roe was later shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies after he drove Ziegler’s pickup to the Longhouse Market & Deli near 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn, a few miles east of Ziegler’s property.“
Take a look at Ziegler’s neighbourhood – Sequim in Washington State – next time you’re using Google Maps. I’m guessing that its similarities to Watts or the Bronx are limited.
There was a time when Brits would have read this story and thanked their lucky stars that America was just somewhere they visited from time to time. Not in our islands would you find life held in such cheap regard so often.
It seems a while ago now. Yet again, what starts in the States, has ended up over here. In both countries, what’s more, it now gets everywhere, tainting our scenic suburbs and city streets alike.
RIP Richard Ziegler and officer Fairbanks. You deserved better.