Murder in the Village: Teamwork & Community

This week there was a triple murder in my village. In the little, historic town of Kapunda on the edge of the Barossa Valley in South Australia, three streets away from my house, a family of three was brutally stabbed to death. No one knows at this stage who did it, or why it happened.

My family has had a house in Kapunda for 20 years now, and though we don’t live there permanently any more, it’s where we raised our children and where we go to “get away” from things, to think, and garden and relax.

Even though I no longer live there full-time, I’ve been shocked at how deeply this event has affected my psyche. Given that I neither know the family involved, nor am a permanent resident of the town any more, I almost feel guilty that I’ve been so deeply disturbed.

It’s not so much that I am a bit afraid now (though I am) but that its broken something, that it’s taken away a sense of community and security that I’ve always taken for granted, and now have to rethink and re-integrate.

It makes me ask things of myself : If I’d been there, surely at only three streets away, I would have heard something? Would I have done anything? Could I have helped? Would I have knocked on neighbours’ doors and galavanised some help for the family? Surely I would have rung the police? How can a family of three be brutally murdered and nobody heard anything or went to help? Why do we live in communities if they don’t provide protection and support? What does this mean about human nature or the modern world? I imagine that these are the things we are all asking ourselves.

Our family friend, who was once the local policeman in Kapunda, says that people don’t respond to things anymore because they are too afraid to get involved. This makes me almost as disturbed as the murders have.

What is the point of all the effort, money and time we put in in business and the general workplace building “teams” and developing “ teamwork”, if in our private lives, our sense of community is breaking down? A team is just a small community, with common goals, concerns and values. And a workplace is just a “village”, a reflection of the wider world. It’s a mistake to think that we can separate our public and our private lives. We can’t on the one hand want to work as a team at work (or indeed on the sports field) and on the other totally ignore our place as part of a community when we come home.

In a very real way, the world has become a “Global Village” which we all notice and understand. Nearly every day, I and most people I know, have contact with people all around the country and overseas. Our connections are instant and real. We email, talk, publish, read and write blogs, and generally interconnect in a way that has never been possible before. Most of us are energised by it.

This deep seated human desire and instinct to communicate and connect with each other has always made me feel reassured. It’s made me feel a very real sense of community and empathy for shared experience. It’s made me feel like I was part of something. As a species, our co-existing drive for competition is like icing on the cake, I think, in that it spices our underlying imperative for cooperation.

Without cooperation there is no community, and most certainly there are no teams.

This week, a murder in my village has rocked me deeply. Unlike the fictional and almost genteel murders of Agatha Christie or Midsomer Murders, a real murder in a village cuts at the heart of community, and affects us all.

Lynette Jensen

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3 Responses to “Murder in the Village: Teamwork & Community”

  1. […] little olive grove in the garden of our white-washed Georgian vernacular “poet’s cottage” in Kapunda, and despite olives being so tough they grow in impoverished soil and last for a thousands years, […]

  2. […] Murder in the Village: Team-work & Community […]

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