Friday, April 25, 2014
What I’ve got on my mind today has nothing to do with funny.

In fact, for most of the time I’ve been alive, this is one of the most unfunny things I’ve ever known. It was horrible when it happened and has remained just as horrible every day since. And now ... well, now I just don’t know what to think.

On Thursday, the cable channel known as ID (Investigation Discovery) will air an episode of a show called Wicked Attraction. It’s one of those true-crime re-enactment shows that details the unspeakable acts of terrible human beings. This show in particular highlights what happens when a pair of terrible human beings are drawn together to do bad things to good people. Usually, the focus is on a pair of lovers of some sort ... husbands and wives ... boyfriends and girlfriends ... that sort of thing.

Thursday’s episode is about Ricky Javon Gray and his nephew Ray Joseph Dandridge. It’s a 60-minute show about the Richmond murder spree that robbed the world of seven people, including the Harvey family. I’m not writing this so much as a program note. Judging by the twisting sensation in my gut, this is more of a warning.

If you don’t want to see it, stay away from channel 111 between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

I’ve made it clear in the past that my wife and I are fond of the late-night crime shows. We tune in to watch the forensic stuff, the long court battles, the haunting prison interviews and taped 911 calls. We’ve always been drawn to the drama of the stories. Afterward, we’re always thankful those things happened to somebody else. But the Harvey story is different. And Thursday's show might just change the way I look at every one of those other shows.

For every episode on every channel that focuses on death, crime and murder ... there are hundreds of people who cannot watch. Hundreds of people for whom the pain is hard enough without the bad acting and ominous narration. People who know that life’s worst days were bad enough the first time around. They don’t need to watch the instant replay.

The Harvey tragedy was a crime that changed my life. I knew them, but not well. Their loss as people, as a family ... as friends of friends and neighbors of neighbors was profound. The world was a brighter place when they were here.

What haunts me today is the randomness.

To say I think about it every morning is not an exaggeration. The Harvey family comes to mind every day when I leave the house. And it doesn’t matter if the people I leave behind inside are asleep or awake ... the front door gets locked. If I forget and trot down the front steps ... I trot back up and turn that key. As long as I live, the front door will remain locked. That’s just the way it is.

But I’m getting away from the point.

This show on Thursday ... it just sounds like salt on the wound. It’s like the newspaper article I wished I’d never read. And watching it feels like something I might regret for a long time.

Honestly, I don’t know whether I will watch or not. I don’t want to.

But another part of me feels like I owe it to everybody else who lost someone ... everyone who suffered and then had their suffering turned into a late-night distraction for insomniacs and true-crime junkies. I had no problem looking murder in the face when it was happening to someone else. Now that it hits closer to home, I’ve got to make a serious choice.

And I have no idea what to do.


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