By all accounts, St. Louis resident Daniel Horkheimer was truly one of the good guys. He was an immigration advocate and community activist. He volunteered to help steer newcomers through the maze of bureaucracy. He and his wife lived in the middle of a very poor north St. Louis neighborhood though they could have easily afforded better surroundings.
Horkheimer was also a neighborhood handyman of sorts. If anyone needed a favor or help with a small job, they knew who to call. He was active in his church and, along with his wife, helped to find housing for homeless women and children.
So it's understandable that the community was shocked when Horkheimer was gunned down while rehabbing his house last week. Police say robbery was the apparent motive.
The world is far too short of people honestly interested and active in helping others in need. To lose just one is a tragedy. It is compounded when that loss is so senseless.
Daniel Horkheimer was desperately trying to help a neighborhood that has fallen into disrepair. Crime was everywhere. Yet despite these obstacles, he was willing to stay in the neighborhood and give his time and talents to helping others. Is it possible there are neighborhoods beyond repair? Are there some areas that have simply crossed the line too far?
The loss of this single individual is a tragedy by itself. But his death has greater meaning. It makes you wonder why anyone would make sacrifices to help those in need when there are thugs who have absolutely no value for life in any form.
The murderer in north St. Louis did not just kill one honorable man. That murderer may have helped to kill the spirit that motivates us to help others in need.