one of the reasons i've always liked the town we live in is because it is smallish and has always felt safe and...i don't know, small-townish. people know people, there isn't a lot of crime, etc. there's a quaint main street, some historic buildings and we have a spring folly downtown and they're building a botanical garden that i cannot wait for : )
things have changed though. they've been changing i suppose, but recently things were really brought to light, at least for me.
a couple of weeks ago a 40 year old father was shot in the parking lot of a restaurant in our town. a place we eat every couple of months or so. i found out about it from a friend at work who also lives in my town and knows the family. apparently the father's high school kid was called out by a gang at his school. they threatened they would come to his house if he didn't meet them in this parking lot, it was late saturday night. on the way there the kid called his dad and he met him there. 20 gang members were there and they fired shots at the dad and his kid. they hit the dad but he was able to push his son back into his car so he could get away. someone must have heard the gunshots and called the police and the dad hung on long enough to give them some information. he died later that night at the hospital.
after murdering this man, gang members called the kid and said it wasn't over and they were coming for him and the rest of his family. four gang members were arrested and are in jail. the family keeps getting harrassing phone calls. they have police camped out at their house. from what i understand there is a younger daughter at home as well.
our town refuses to admit this is a gang related incident, though the principal at the high school knows it and has admitted it. and, it's not one gang or a small gang. it's a serious, large gang (nationwide gang).
the widow and her children have left to visit relatives for awhile but have been advised that when they come back to town it would be best to homeschool the kids.
a 40 year old dad was shot and killed for trying to protect his son by kids who had no real reason to do so. i don't know the back story; i think the son had argued w/ a few of the gang members the week before or something. and though the crime itself is bad enough, the fact that not 30 minutes after they shot and killed his father they're calling the kid threatening him and keep it up throughout the weeks, throughout his dad's funeral (which had security up the wazoo). i can't comprehend that. i don't understand that level of hatred or evilness or total disregard for human life. that's shit you see on csi or law and order people, not something that happens in your own small town.
it almost immobilized me with fear to think of my kids going to high school. granted, the school this is happening in isn't the school my kids would go to, but it can happen anywhere. the hubs said he's seriously thinking about a local private catholic school (though we aren't catholic) but i'm not sure that's the answer either.
here i thought the first day of middle school was hard--i have so much (bad) to look forward to and worry about as they get older.
these are the things about parenting nobody ever tells you. the fear that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to protect them or shield them, you really don't have much control at all. you can raise them right, you can have great communication, whatever it takes, and still, something as random as gang violence can change lives forever.