By Nadine Higgins
This Whangarei shooting is just horrible. Two, by all accounts lovely, lovely women, mother and daughter shot dead.
But as details started to emerge yesterday I started to think about how avoidable the whole thing was.
We now know Quinn Patterson had a cache of weapons he shouldn't have had given he had a record of violent crime.
We know he fought with his neighbours and was often heard firing rounds and his neighbours had their concerns about him.
We know he was struggling with depression, that's according to friends who have spoken out after his death.
We know he was basically blockading his house .. and it seems was lying in wait for the property managers to arrive.
Which makes me wonder - why did no one at any time say anything?
Maybe his neighbours feared the guy who was always firing off guns so didn't say anything
Maybe his friends thought he was depressed and angry, but mostly harmless so didn't say anything
Maybe he isolated himself just enough that no one thought to say anything.
But I'm not sure that's the case. I think people did notice his decline, did notice his stash of weapons but maybe they didn't know what to do or how to help him.
One of his friends and colleagues was on the TV last night describing his state of mind and saying things like his landlord backed him into a corner and his landlord triggered this.
Which I don't think is fair at all to whoever owns the property that Quinn Patterson lived in, which is of course now a charred shell of a property.
But that friend also said Quinn was not a well man and we need to make sure stories like his never happen again.
To do that do we need to set aside the Kiwi tendency of simply minding your own business and letting others be? Maybe you need to get in other people's business sometimes ask the awkward questions be a bit of a friendly busy body and do something about what we see? Because not everybody will ask for help.
The Herald has a series running at the moment on youth suicide entitled 'Break the Silence' and it's great, an important project and powerful stuff.
But what I would say is that sometimes the mentally unwell won't be sympathetic, lovable characters who simply get sick.
Sometimes they'll be Quinn Patterson but that doesn't change the need to break the silence.
Nothing excuses what he did and there is, of course, so much we don't know about what happened but what we do know is this is a terrible, tragic story and one I'm convinced didn't need to end like this.