With the previous blog post noting that I've moved to Alphen aan den Rijn, I'm sad to say that 10 months later our new town has suffered a terrible loss: Two days ago a madman killed 6 and wounded 17 by firing an automatic rifle in our local shopping-mall. He then committed suicide.
It's a surreal situation. Alphen is a small town, and probably was most remarkable because it was so unremarkable. The shopping mall was as common as they get and we went there nearly daily. Our thoughts go out to the victims of this attack, but at the same time the realization that either of us or any of our neighbors only by sheer chance weren't in the Ridderhof at the time of the shooting is terrifying. Something that only happens in the US of Arms or in the movies suddenly comes much too close.
Tomorrow the Ridderhof opens again. Faces that were on the TV again behind the register. The doors you walked through every day that were sprayed with bullets boarded up. Surreal. I think it will take everyone a lot of time to come to terms with what happened. Alphen will unfortunately never be unremarkable again.