It is with deep personal sadness that I write this. All of us who send our children out the door every morning, never thinking it may be the last time we see them, are deeply affected. All of us uttered when we heard: that could have been my child.
The tragedy has now broadened. Three more families are having their lifelong dreams snuffed out with the arrest of those responsible for the death of that child..
Recently the talk shows were abuzz with one of the lawyers’s statements trying to woo public opinion towards sympathizing with the newest victim, the one arrested, and take our minds off the previous one, the one who died.
That man is just doing his job. He is being paid to represent the best interest of his client and he is doing what he is being paid to do. Getting angry at him for doing his job, though human, is not in society’s best long term interest.
The cause of death, it appears was congenital heart failure, and the lawyer’s argument that his client could not know about the flaw and was just having a little fight, never intending to kill her target, is probably accurate.
Yet, had the “little” fight never occurred, she would be alive today.
This is ultimately for the courts to decide. What we need to decide is what will we do about this. That is very important. A very horrible, horrible thing happened in that school. Justice must be meted out. In that courtroom battle we will be spectators only. We will have no impact on its verdict.
But we can do a lot of things. One of the first, is to vow that this can not happen again. The second is after making that decision, to begin working on preventing any other occurrence. We should do it because we know our child could be the next one.
Everyone on social media, on talk shows, in any public forum, has their opinion on what is needed to prevent the next re-occurrence. Some ideas are good; some impractical. They’ve been rehashed over and over so there is no point in me adding the same.
Because if you sit back and listen to them? They all start with…….”Somebody should do something about……”
Better security. Cellphones. YouTube. Bullying. Conflict Management. Better parenting. More religion. Better teaching.
And the lists tend to go on and on…. If you are like me, you probably saw the problem was in the first paragraph, not the second…. Wanting “someone” else to do something instead of you being the force of change….
And that is where this murder or killing, for me was different than all the others… I came to the conclusion that before my child or any other gets similar treatment, I need to work of doing something to fix this problem…
This tragedy is deeply depressing… It IS a sign of hopeless times. And there is nothing worse in the human condition, when you have exercised all your options, and know there is no hope left in you, for you. Things so much bigger than you have brought this down upon you. It was pointless, pointless, pointless. There is no redeeming factor here. A very wonderful child, who we would all be happy to have our children behave like her, is not here anymore. And to make things worse, her killer, is not some horrible, horrible human being, a maniacal, bloodthirsty, psychopathic, destroyer of human life… She too, is very much like our some of our own children… Anyone of which could possibly make the same decision under duress as did her, and instigate what they thought would be a minor fight for whatever reason, that went horribly wrong.
Four lives ruined, because of a fight…
It is all so senseless. So pathetic. So tragic in the deepest way.
So what are you going to do about it? Yes. I said “you”. What are you going to change in your own life that may at some future point in time, prevent a similar fight or argument that might also produce a similar morbid result?
Because that in essence, is what these things happen for. Though they happen on their own, outside of our world, outside our influence, they turn out to become a reality check on how little control we have over our fate. They become a reality check on how much we coast through our lives, preoccupied with things we think are so important, but when confronted by such events they are but minuscule compared to the loss of a child’s future.
And if… “you” don’t do something, or change, or do anything different to make a difference in some small way in the future, then there is no redeeming value in the loss of Amy…. But… if you make a point, any point, some point, just something different, to change something in the future, then believe it or not, there is some redeeming value in this action.
Now this is a hard topic, especially for her extended family. For them this is superfluous; nothing will bring Amy back. Nothing will fill that hole that remains for the rest of their earthly lives. Which brings back anger, hurt, rage perhaps, at least once every … single… day. But the rest of us can swear that this girl did not die in vain. The rest of us can swear that this girl woke us up. That this girl made us change in ways so that the world did become a little better for some people… The rest of us can swear that we will make positive change in our lives, her memorial… That she touched something in us that changed us; something that would still be inert, had this horrible tragedy not happened.
If I’ve lost you by this point, you are probably wondering what on earth could you possibly do to honor this person appropriately with your life choice?
So let me give one example before I close and I recognize that not everyone is the same as me, so if this rings hollow, I’d suggest you try what you feel is calling you to do…
But here is one thing. When you have a crowd of kids in your house, throw together some snacks and call them all together… Tell them you are sad someone had to die in school but you want to teach or tell all of them how they can prevent that from happening to them…. you can tell them that if their friends say they will beat someone up, that getting an adult involved beforehand, can fix the problem of why they want to beat that person up, without having anyone get hurt as a result. You can tell them stories of when you were little, and regrets you carry to this day. You can tell them that hurting someone just to be on YouTube is wrong; that if they watch those things, they are making others want to do it more… Best bet is for them to say doing that is stupid and to talk their friends out of it. You can tell them how easy it is to die, and how horrible one feels if one accidentally kills someone; how afterwards their life becomes horrible and worthless when it could have been great and fun. You can tell them that a good rule is that if they wouldn’t want someone to do something to them; they shouldn’t ever do it to someone else…
You should make it clear you love them; both your kids and their friends. You don’t have to say it, but if you treat them with respect, they will know. And if you did that, and followed through all the way through High School, and beyond, and you did just that little thing for Amy, …. then in a small mysterious serendipity sort of way, something good did come out of her murder whether that killing was intended or not….
And if all of you did it… there would be more good than if just one… And if you put what you were doing on Facebook or Instagram, inspiring other parents to do the same, and they did it, there would be a lot more good than if you hadn’t, and if they got results so it spread, then the possibility out there still lurks that great positive change all over, came about because of the horror of what took place in that school bathroom..
And if, when you are very tired after a long day of work… just want to put you feet up, turn on the TV and zone out for a nap, but don’t, and instead talk to your kids and their friends one more time, asking how they are, how their day went, and what they wanted to do in their future….and you did it, because something inside of you said only through your actions will redemption come through Amy’s passing, then regardless of how much you hurt, regardless of how close you were to her, regardless of how hopeless this made you feel… it was not in vain……
And if all of you can do that…. we are well on our way making sure another child, never, ever, gets killed in school. Period.