Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dark Time in Fairbanks

Even though we have less than four hours of daylight at this time of year- the holiday season with all of its lights , celebrations, and festivities with friends and family traditionally make late December more a time of light and cheer than a dismal reminder that we still have two more months of cold and dark.

Except this year. This year it is darker than usual in Fairbanks and the reason is the wanton, terrible murder of a gentle, unassuming soul who was always friendly and open to visitors and customers. Daniel Fredrick harmed no one, loved his pets and had many friends and acquaintances. As the long time proprietor of Blondie's Military Surplus, he and his lineage of "Blondie" dog(s) were iconic in this town. In fact, it is probably safe to say, that over the last quarter century, most Fairbanks newbies completed at least one pilgrimage to Blondie's in search of a pair of used and cheap bunny boots. For new arrivals, especially graduate students and neophyte mushers, Fredrick's store was the place to go in order to round out one's new arctic winter kit with those funky, white, but impossible to beat bunny boots. It was also a great place just to poke around in, looking at musty dusty odd pieces of this and that, while having a random sort of conversation with Fredrick.

It's been a number of years since I was in his store, but I drove by it regularly, and seeing its sign somehow always instilled in me a sense of "all is right in this town" - because Blondie's on the corner has just always been part of the scene - at least my scene since I came to this town 20 years ago.

And now it is not. And not because this very kind, slightly odd man closed up one day and went into retirement, but because one, two and possibly three low-lifes decided that it wasn't just enough to rob him. They could have taken all his money, all his cards, all his gear and left him alone. But no, they had to beat and strangle him - even though I am quite sure that initially he welcomed them to his store in same friendly manner he greeted everyone who came in.

Every violent death that occurs in this town and its environs costs all of us a little bit of our humanity. This one is going to extract even more. About the only thing that can be said of this is at least these three were so stupid - or possibly incredibly stupidly arrogant - that they used his cards and were quickly caught. Although this is a heinous crime, it would have been far worse if he had been found dead, with no solid suspects or leads in the case. At least there is reasonable assurance that justice will be done, and that these inhuman useless bits of trash will receive the type of punishment they so richly deserve. There is no excuse for this type of brutal attack, there never is.


Ishmael said...

That is so very sad. I'm very sorry for your community's loss.

gpc said...

I am so sorry.