So several years ago, as Serial was just making a big splash (or bomb depending on how you feel about not having a pat ending that explains everything), I wrote about Burke. It feels odd to say "my friend Burke" because he wasn't. He was a camp counsellor and trip leader that I never had. He was the big man on camp and while I did do a trip or two with one of his younger sisters, I was never in his orbit.
However, when someone is killed, the degrees of separation seem to collapse. Since Burke was gunned down on a NYC street 14 years ago, he has been Burke, the camp counsellor or "this guy I knew".
This is coming up for me because this morning a camp/facebook friend, who married one of Burke's sisters, posted a view preview of a new podcast that is coming out, Murder on Orchard Street, the latest true crime podcast/news experience that is all about Burke's death.
My first response was to burst into tears. I'm not sure why that was my response, but I bawled. I think it was partly seeing people I knew (I don't pretend to know them now, but again those degrees and years of separation collapse when things like this happen), talking about something that I experienced at a distance.
Not to make it all about me, but Burke's death was the first "big" thing to happen to me. I don't remember how exactly I found out, but somehow I was at school (in my last year in high school), and someone I knew thought I should know. This was before the days of social media so I think they sent me a link to a news article.
I haven't decided whether I'm going to consume this product, but if I do it will be the podcast only. I can't see images of Burke and his family, that is just going to push me off my orbit. I know, from being a facebook creeper, that the O'Brien family has thrived and grown in the year's since Burke's death and so I hope that they get what they need out of this experience, because they are the only ones who matter on this.
If you want to watch, it starts tomorrow, October 3rd. I'm sure you can find it.