A few months ago a man was killed on the street in my rough neighborhood in Jersey City, New Jersey.
That killing moved me in many ways and I wrote about the experience here in Urban Semiotic in a piece called Murder in the Jersey City Heights.
I also discovered an interesting form of ongoing public grieving that I call The Stations of Urban Mourning and in order to give form to the experience I did a Qualitative Observation of three public mourning sites in Jersey City. Here is the start of that report:
Over the past year there have been three killings in my Jersey City Heights neighborhood. Each killing ground is a spoke of suffering less than one block from where I live. You cannot walk any stretch of sidewalk leaving my apartment without walking on concrete that was once stained with the last bloody droplets of a human life. As I try to press meaning into these senseless killings I am reminded there is great truth in the oath of the street that life is cheap. However, dying, I have discovered, costs more than a corpse. Those who survive the street death of a loved one appear have a ritualistic and ongoing public grieving that this observation report will try to frame in a way that provides perspective on the Stations of Urban Mourning.
You can purchase the entire article here if you are interested in discovering more about The Stations of Urban Mourning: A Qualitative Investigation of Ongoing Public Grieving.