We all know that living in a small town does not make us immune from tragedy. As our community struggles to understand how something like this tragedy can happen in Wayland, I think it is particularly difficult because we are such a tight-knit group. I do not know the Astley or Fujita families; however, the daughter of friends of ours was close with Lauren. I think this is typical of most families in Wayland – there is, at most, one degree of separation.
Luckily, we do not have to process a murder very often in Wayland, but when we do, it is made all the more difficult because we all know someone who is hurting.
You may never know that one of your neighbors is an extraordinary human being. Until Monday, I only knew Malcolm Astley as the nice man that I bought blueberries from at our local Farmers' Market. I may have been vaguely aware that he was on the School Committee. Under the circumstances of the last few days, I have come to admire him. I do not think that there is a right way or wrong way to handle the news that he has handled, but I do know that I would have difficulty keeping the perspective that his words have contained. My heart goes out to him as our community attempts to keep the same perspective.
I would like to commend our Wayland police force for their excellent job with this investigation. All too often I am annoyed with the speed-trap down the road, but when there is serious trouble in our little town, they obviously rise to the occasion. They took a worried father's 11 p.m. call seriously and found evidence that may have been destroyed if they had waited overnight to investigate. There may not have been a murder in this town since 1985, but our Wayland police force handled this tragedy like professionals.