06 March 2008

'A Senseless Act of Violence'

A very sad post tonight, as my beloved little hamlet (and University) of Chapel Hill is reeling from the news that UNC at Chapel Hill's own Student Body President, Eve Carson, was identified as the woman found shot dead here early Wednesday morning. To say that the campus and the environs in general are in a stake of shock would only be scratching the surface. Shock, disbelief, sadness, anger...you name it, the gambit of emotion rages on. Violent crimes...let alone murders...are extremely rare here, and that's part of the charm of UNC at Chapel Hill. In many ways, this is not only the oldest public university in the nation, but Chapel Hill is also the quintessential university and college town experience. The locals fall into two distinct groups here usually: those that are students currently, and those that were students or staff once and just stayed around. Each group is the other's family...alumni and freshman and support staff alike, shoulder to shoulder everywhere around town...and Ms Carson was one of us.

In Memory of Eve Marie Carson, photo as posted on WRAL-TV, ©2007

Ms Carson was a very talented, very multi-faceted, very driven young woman, only 22 years of age and a senior at UNC. A double major (political science and biology) with an interest in going the pre-med route after graduation. A tireless volunteer with local kids, a study abroad traveler to Cuba even. To boot, she was also a highly-acclaimed Morehead Scholar (and at a school where scholars are somewhat common, she still stood out and was also a North Carolina Fellow). (A full bio from her Student Body President campaign webpage can be found here.) I never met Ms Carson, but to say one reading "The Daily Tar Heel" newspaper would have any idea that she was something less than a dynamic leader would have been underestimating her will and motivation. In a world full of people who want to 'tune out' (which I myself am guilty of more often than I should, and more often as I grow older and more cynical), Ms Carson clearly knew how to 'tune in' and lead others. By all accounts, she was a 'can-do' kind of girl, hellbent and determined not to squander her many gifts and opportunities. The loss of her kind...especially her zeal for meeting up and participating in life...is profound.

Ms Carson doing an intro to UNC Student Government, her office and to the UNC student system in general...from YouTube

(In addition to the links above, WRAL-TV has a series of excellent updates on this story, including today's vigils that were attended by about 10,000 people, at this link.)

Just earlier today Ms Carson's SUV was recovered nearby, but still no real motive has been established by investigators. Nor, at least as far as the media is reporting, are there any suspects being identified yet. To date, there is no answer as to why she was shot several times, why she was found without any identification on her person, and why she was found dead in the middle of an intersection about 4 hours after her roommates had just left her (she stayed behind at home to finish up on her studies). Found, no less, very close to the campus proper but away from her home, in a quiet residential area of relatively affluent homes just off Chapel Hill's main drag of Franklin Street.

Sadly, we have no answers yet, just lots and lots of questions. Why? is the first.

So, tonight, after vigils on the UNC main campus today, the only thing our close community can hold onto is Ms Carson's vast promise and our angry and shocked tears. And that damn repetitive television speech from the local media of this just being 'a senseless act of violence'. It's murder, folks, no matter how 'senseless' it was.

And Ms Eve Carson...and all that she would have become...deserves justice from her killer. May those responsible be found and brought forward quickly for their just punishment. Until a Higher Authority will, anyway.

Those who may have seen and/or know something, and/or possibly have other information about this murder, should call the Chapel Hill Police Department at: 919-968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

God bless her family and friends at this horrible time. My heartfelt prayers and deepest condolences go out to all of them.

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