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Every so often I’m reminded why I live in a small town.

The mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., on Friday, July 20, followed by a trip down to Phoenix the next day made me happy to return to my slow-paced lifestyle and familiar faces.

Sedona Red Rock News Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieWhile murder and even mass murder doesn’t only happen in big cities — I’ve seen “Alaska: Ice Cold Killers” on the Discovery Channel — the probability lessens with a smaller population size.

There are also fewer places for such incidents to occur.

Yes, we have movie theaters, parks and shopping plazas, but we have fewer presenting less opportunity.

Friday’s horrific events kicked off a weekend of realization and recognition of what I value.

With the killings still fresh in my mind, we headed down to Phoenix the next day to see friends and attend a birthday party.

I don’t even have to be in Phoenix to be happy I don’t live there.

Before we came close to entering the city the traffic thickened and people began cutting each other off, traveling what must be 15 to 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and all the while wearing stressful scowls on their faces.

When we enter any city traffic, my husband tells me to read my magazine.

Once at the party, I again feel comfortable seeing familiar faces in a familiar setting forgetting about the bustling city around us.

Later, a haboob approaches, and we all pile into the front yard to watch the dust cloud.

All we can see around us are houses and a cloud of dust.

The mountains aren’t visible. We don’t get to watch the storm come down the canyon like we do up here.

The next day we head back to our paradise, sad to leave friends but with a rekindled appreciation for where we live.

That afternoon we sat out on the back patio, listened to the quiet and watched a monsoon storm roll over the red rocks and mountains. All we could see from our home was an open field and miles and miles of pure natural beauty.

Give me a sense of safety, give me breathtaking beauty and give me fewer people to deal with over shopping malls, events galore and endless congestion any day.

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