Editorial
The fact of murder

In the flats where she lived, she would always jump the bottom step. The neighbours would hear it, the pause and then the thud of her platform shoes.

She was “very intelligent”, a neighbour told The Age. “She kept to herself. She was very much an introvert.”

Her name was Eurydice Dixon. Some friends called her Ridi. Near midnight on Tuesday, she sent a message to a friend: “I’m almost home safe.” Somewhere in the next few hours, she was killed.

Dixon was a stand-up comic. She was 22. She was walking home from a gig when she was murdered.

“She was on top of the world because her gig went so well,” a friend said.

Dixon was breaking through. Her last festival show played to full rooms.

“I couldn’t get my head around how she could stand on stage even when the crowd didn’t get her humour. It didn’t shake her, she could stand tall against that,” a colleague told The Age.

“You just don’t get sensibility like that in someone so young because at 22 years old most don’t have enough to say, but she did.

“She had life experience, she was mature beyond her years and that’s the tragedy of all this.”

Other comics called her “an important and funny voice”. The venue where she often played said she was a “remarkable, talented, kind, unique and universally loved person”.

On Thursday, a 19-year-old man was charged with her rape and murder. He handed himself in on Wednesday night. He did not apply for bail.

Police offered their crude boilerplate, told people to protect themselves: “The message we would provide to all members of the community is to take responsibility for your safety.”

And: “This is an area of high community activity … so just make sure you have situational awareness, that you’re aware of your surroundings.”

And: “Make sure people know where you are and that if you’ve got a mobile phone, carry it. And if you’ve got any concerns, call police.”

We must reckon with a society that is not safe. It is a society of violence and entitlement. Our institutions have not the language or the tools to begin dismantling this.

Eurydice Dixon was murdered because someone felt entitled to kill her. The horrifying randomness of the crime makes it news, but it does not change that basic fact. Society has to change the basic fact.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jun 16, 2018 as "The fact of murder". Subscribe here.

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