Quiet man gave no hint of violence (Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):
Excerpt: He was the type of person you'd scarcely notice in a crowd - quiet, a bit on the tall side, brownish hair, glasses.
"Not in shape but not overweight - Joe Average," said his neighbor, Shane Colwell.
But Terry Ratzmann, the man believed to have opened fire on members of his congregation as they worshipped, slaying seven and wounding four before killing himself, turned out to be anything but average.
A boy who was like a flower (Anthony Shadid, Washington Post):
Excerpt: Bathed in the soft colors of turquoise tiles, the room was hushed, as the caretakers finished the washing. They wrapped his head, his gaze fixed, with red and yellow plastic. They rolled the corpse in plastic sheeting, fastening it with four pieces of white gauze -- one at each end, one around his knees and one around his chest.
During school siege, Russia took captives in Chechnya (Kim Murphy, L.A. Times):
Excerpt: It was 6 a.m. when Russian soldiers hoisted themselves over the wall, crashed through the window and broke down the front door. Their quarries were still asleep.
Shouting, shoving and kicking, the soldiers pushed 67-year-old Khavazh Semiyev and his wife into a truck waiting outside, then went back for the others -- his two sons and two nephews, his son's wife, his 52-year-old sister.
Then -- and Semiyev couldn't believe his eyes -- they went back for his grandchildren: Mansur, 11 years old. Malkhazni, 9. And Mamed, 7.
Kidnapping Grandma Braun Part I (Helen O'Neill, Associated Press):
Excerpt: It was cold the night Grandma Braun was taken, that bitter dead-of-winter cold when the countryside is sheathed in ice and the stillness is broken only by great gusts of snow that swirl across the fields and back roads, erasing footprints and car tracks and all traces of life.
Old Timer’s Day
By Donald Hall
When the tall puffy
figure wearing number
late for the fly ball,
like a lame truckhorse
startled by a gartersnake,
—this old fellow
whose body we remember
as sleek and nervous
as a filly's—
and barely catches it
in his glove's
tip, we rise
and applaud weeping:
On a green field
we observe the ruin
of even the bravest
body, as Odysseus
wept to glimpse
among shades the shadow