No Taming This Shrew


Forgive my assumptions

A student who burned to death in a housefire down the street from me was honored in a ceremony on Friday here on campus. He died in his sleep, we all hope, knocked out by the smoke. He was left in the house after another housemate lept from a top-story window and unknowingly told firefighters that the house was empty. I didn't attend the service, but I know several students of mine did -- the young man was very well liked. I saw his death as a terrible tragedy, one brought on by too much booze and poorly-placed gas grills. The sort of awful accident that unfortunately happens all the time on a campus this size. I said a prayer for the parents and friends and moved on.

Turns out the house was intentionally burned down. That boy died in a fire that was set, not accidental. That "gas" I had read about was not a natural gas grill but gasoline mixed with an accelerant.

What kind of sick freak sets houses on fire? We've just had a serial arsonist arrested who terrorized the DC area for years. Huge relief. But this is obviously a new one. I was so ready to write this death off as idiocy, tragic mistake, etc. But it was murder. Someone killed that boy and messed up his friend and destroyed all their belongings.

I'm furious and also very worried. I'm checking my smoke detectors and making sure my 12 windows are available to leap out of as needed. I'm making copies of my dissertation and scattering them among various locations here and elsewhere. I hate this guy. I hate him a lot.