There is a state line, invisible and arbitrary and - at times of murder - meaningless.
The line separates Rock Hill and York County and South Carolina from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and North Carolina.
Friday and Saturday showed that guns do not care what state they are in when fired.
Guns just get fired by young people who have some kind of rage within them, apparently, and then families as different as that of a white executive and an Hispanic laborer prepare to bury the dead.
There is outrage in Charlotte in upscale SouthPark - and rightly so. The only news near SouthPark is supposed to be sales at the nearby mall and Santa at Christmas.
There is outrage in Rock Hill, too, and in the poorest section of York. A mobile home where a single stand of white flowers stands outside a trailer of a man who was helping raise his six younger siblings after his father died.
Those bullets came from across the invisible state line, too, police say.
In Charlotte Friday morning, hospital executive Robert Barber had coffee, was walking home near SouthPark, then was robbed and shot. Police have charged Chauncey Sterling, an 18-year-old from Rock Hill, with murder.
The motive was opportunity, police say. The result - death - stunned many and should have.
Facing the potential of life in a North Carolina prison if convicted, Sterling might never see that state line - which doesn't matter - again.
As it turns out, Sterling had been arrested earlier this month in York County on assault and criminal domestic violence charges.
Earlier Friday morning in Charlotte - before Barber's death on that unseasonably cold, rainy day - two 20-year-olds were picked up by Charlotte police for underage drinking, records show.
It happened at 3:15 a.m., according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office. Raul Edgardo Contreras and Isidro Alejandro Barrios were arrested, jail records show, booked into the Mecklenburg County jail, then let go after posting $200 bond each.
Less then 24 hours later, across that invisible state line, both found themselves charged with murder in York County.
Contreras and Barrios face murder and criminal conspiracy charges in the death of Rigo Tovar. Life in prison, the possibility, is reality in South Carolina for those two from Charlotte, too.
Contreras and Barrios might never see that state line again, either.
Guns get fired wherever they are, and the victims die wherever they are.
The death of Barber and the arrest of Sterling has brought on a frenzy of news coverage, because it is so terrible and this victim was known and respected, and now he has been shot down in a crime that is indefensible.
The crime, called random by police, is horrible, and no one could possibly understand why Barber died in such a way.
Tovar's death outside a bar only brought the cries of people who knew him. His mother is inconsolable inside that mobile home in York. The six younger brothers and sisters did not go to school Monday as they try to wade through their grief.
Tovar was at the Modelo bar Saturday morning to look after his sister and cousin - both ladies who work in the bar, co-workers and another cousin, Pedro Tovar, said.
Rigo Tovar's father died when he was a child. As the oldest, he became the father-figure in that mobile home. For the past eight years he worked for Pipeline Irrigation.
He knew nothing but work and family.
He was the man who was so proud when the younger kids got A's in school. He bought the school clothes.
Tovar was in charge of the safety of his family - even if that meant being out at 2 a.m. to make sure a sister and cousin made it home from that bar and grill.
All that is known for sure, police say, is that an argument started Saturday outside that bar.
What is also sure now is that two 20-year-old men from Charlotte - less than 24 hours after they were arrested for underage drinking but were sprung from jail - are charged with using a gun to end any discussions.
They are still in jail and might never get out.
Robert Barber wore a suit to work and Rigo Tovar wore work boots to work. They died the same way, because bullets do not care about clothes.
The two victims could not be any more different - but are more alike than ever now in death.
A family and city mourns for Barber and is demanding justice. A huge funeral will be held in downtown Charlotte Wednesday at a huge and historic church.
Certainly family and friends will come from all over for this 64-year-old man. He deserves it.
A family and a mobile home mourn for 31-year-old Tovar, yet they alone are demanding justice. A funeral will be small at a funeral home chapel this afternoon, and burial will be afterward.
Today, a bus will pull into Charlotte from Coahuila state in Mexico. That bus has on it a grandfather who had intended to come to York and see how his oldest grandson had made him so proud by helping raise his brothers and sisters after their father's death.
The grandfather arrives instead - hopefully in time, after days on a bus - to bury the grandson. He will have to cross the state line from Charlotte to get to the grave.
Outside the mobile home Monday, some of the family and friends of Rigo Tovar talked about what had happened to that man, Barber, in Charlotte and the arrest of the Rock Hill teen for murder.
"No family should have to go through that," said Reuben Tovar, a brother, who was going through it himself.
The family mourned for strangers in another state because their pain was the same. In SouthPark or mobile homes, gunshots bring death and despair.
"Their pain must be terrible," cousin Pedro Tovar said of the strangers in Charlotte getting ready for a funeral. "Nobody should have to go through that."
All these people stood in the dirt outside that mobile home and shook their heads about young men and guns - and a state line that unites them with strangers because of death.
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