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January 26, 1990

Predator and Prey

Author Affiliations

Pomona, Calif

Pomona, Calif

JAMA. 1990;263(4):523. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440040062029

The day after the shooting, I woke to the sound of mockingbirds and blue jays. While sipping coffee and reading the newspaper in the quiet of my morning, I took a moment to gaze at the panorama of the Pomona Valley and the chaparralcovered hills to the west. When the sun turned the hillside golden, I began to see deer grazing. Hummingbirds, already at work, were darting among the flowers of a blossoming century plant.

From my breakfast window, when the valley is clear, I can see the hospital in the distance. Life is much different down there. There are no glimpses of deer or chatter of birds. The newspaper articles I read are about as close as I ever get to the people who live near my hospital. My job as pathologist, however, delivers me and my presumed good fortune into a restless discomfort with the violent and unnecessary