The harsh reality of life

Hello.

I know.  There’s no exclamation point.

It’s actually a great day!  I’m alive, I’m happy (mostly – keep reading), and I’m healthy (well, except for the toothache business but I’m trying really hard not to think about that) and I had a great workout this morning!

But, two very real, very disturbing things happened in my world yesterday.

One had a direct effect on people I love and the other, well, it’s harder to pinpoint how many people I know and love were affected by it.

So, yesterday, while I was at lunch, I saw a tweet from Thing 2’s BFF (aka Thing 3. I love this girl like she is my own child.) that made me stop dead in my tracks.

Her school was on lockdown because someone had a gun and she was hiding under a desk and scared shitless.

My heart didn’t know if it should drop to the pit of my stomach or rise up and get stuck in my throat.

I immediately sent her a text message.  I figured if she could tweet, then she could text.

I also started looking up news stories regarding it and found some other entities that were tweeting about it and started watching those.

I tried to keep her calm by just chatting about random stuff and giving her some updates that I was getting so she wouldn’t feel so helpless under that desk.

She was under that desk for about an hour while police searched the campus.

The result?  I don’t know.  The all clear was sounded but nothing was said about apprehending a suspect.

What, exactly, does that mean?

Does that mean he got away?  It is an open campus, surrounded by trees and well-spaced out neighborhoods (read: large, wooded plots) on one side and a regular residential neighborhood on the other (read: postage stamp sized yards, mowed & edged yards, etc).  There are many places he could have gone.  And, depending on the response time of the authorities, who knows if he was even still on campus by the time they arrived?

I say “he” because that was the description of the suspect.

Or, could it have been a false report?  Maybe someone didn’t want to take a test and needed a diversion?  Isn’t that just awful to think about?  But, it’s a very real possibility.  Rumors spread like wildfires through high school and all one person has to do is say something and, the next thing you know, it’s all over the internet.

I honestly believe this was a real, not false, threat and that’s very, very scary.

And, it begs more questions.

Who was this boy and why did he bring a gun to school? And, BIG, IMPORTANT QUESTION – Why did he have a gun in the first place?  Where are the responsible adults?  Who are the responsible adults?

Was this kid a gang member coming to collect on something?  Was he a prospective gang member completing an induction type task? Like, “Hey, go to the high school and scare the shit out of the kids. Bonus points if you shoot someone.” Or was he a student who had a grudge?  Or, maybe just a student who has his own personal issues and was acting out, looking for attention and ran when he realized that maybe he had made a bad choice?

I don’t want to get into a discussion about gun laws – that’s not the purpose of this post.  I’m not trying to have a political discussion.

I was scared.  I was scared FOR her and all of those other kids who are just there to learn and socialize (seriously, it’s high school – teenagers are social!).  I was scared for my daughter – even though they don’t go to the same school, that could just as easily have happened to her. I felt slightly helpless.  Okay, I felt very helpless.  Thing 3 is miles and miles away from me and there wasn’t anything I could do to help her other than text her.  I couldn’t go get her and hold her and help keep her safe and take her to her mother.

It’s a very harsh reality to be presented with.  We can try hard to protect our children but, no matter what, you can’t do it or be there ALL of the time.  And, it’s a scary world.  You think you live in a safe area, town, city, or neighborhood but you don’t really know what’s going on in the heads of your neighbors.  You can stay out of the “dangerous” areas of town where crime, drugs, and prostitution run rampant but, when you send a child to school, you don’t expect that to be a “danger zone.”  I mean, there’s that saying, “it takes a village….”  It’s true but you don’t always truly know who lives in your village. Or near it. Or might be driving through it.

I was very unhappy.  So relieved when it was over and the all clear was given but, again, miles and miles away so a virtual hug had to suffice.  And, yes, Thing 2 learned what was happening and called me stressed out about it, making sure I knew – she needed me to know and she needed to talk about it.

And then, last night, I saw a disturbing image on Facebook.  It was a shared image with the comment, “I hope they find this…..”

It was a photo of a teenage girl holding a baby wrapped in a bath towel pointing a gun at her head.

No. I am NOT. KIDDING.

This image had actually been posted on Facebook and people thought sharing it was a good idea.

NO.  THAT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Reporting the photo is a much better idea.

NOT TAKING THE PHOTO WOULD HAVE BEEN THE BEST IDEA!

But, again, kids with guns.

WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

So, I reported the photo to Facebook as offensive.

I woke up this morning to the following response from Facebook:

“We reviewed your report of (so-and-so’s) photo and this photo wasn’t removed.”

It. Wasn’t. Removed.

Because, you know, photos of people pointing guns at baby’s heads aren’t offensive or graphically violent at all.

(potty mouth alert) WHAT. THE. F$!#?????

I don’t know which is more disturbing.

The image itself (Honestly, I wish I’d never seen it. I can’t get it out of my head.), the fact that people ACTUALLY SHARED IT so more people could see it, or that Facebook wouldn’t remove it.

I just don’t understand.

I just want to go home and hug my kids.

I’d hug yours too, if I thought they needed it. (no, I’m not a random hugger – I don’t hug people I don’t know. That’s creepy. And wrong.)

Thanks for reading my rant.  I really needed to get all of that out.

Feel free to share your thoughts but, again, I’m not trying to have a political discussion about gun control. It’s not that I don’t want to discuss the issue – it’s just that sometimes it’s very difficult to discuss it peacefully.  People tend to feel very strongly one way or another and I don’t feel like having an argument.  I just wanted to share my thoughts and frustrations on what happened yesterday.

I’m done.  Regularly scheduled fun posts with pictures shall resume immediately. 🙂

– jennifer

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