In light of the recent tragedy at Chardon High School, I feel a pain that is difficult to truly express. As a parent it’s hard to fathom that something like that could happen at any time and place to my innocent child. As someone who spent a considerable amount of time in Chardon while growing up, it’s just plain shocking.
It’s no secret that ours is a crazy world. Incidents and accidents happen every day that unexpectedly and permanently separate loved ones. Even though these situations are not preventable, they are no less tragic.
When T.J. Lane approached a table of random students in his school cafeteria last week and opened fire, he unexpectedly changed the course of countless lives. And not just the lives of his victims and their families, either. The effects of his actions will have repercussions for decades to come. What if one of those three kids who died was the person who was ultimately going to cure cancer? Or become President? How will the parents and siblings of these teens be affected by their loss for the rest of their lives?
As my Little Dude is only 2, he is pretty much with either me or my wife 99% of the time. But we are looking into pre-schools for him and it’s a scary thought. I can’t fathom him being away from both of us, even if it’s only for a few hours each day. Because once he is out of sight, I won’t be able to protect him and that’s really the ultimate mission of parents.
T.J. Lane was charged with aggravated murder and has already admitted shooting his classmates and will be tried as an adult, so he’ll likely be locked up for a long time if not the rest of his life. But sadly at 17, his life is already over, which is a tragedy unto itself. It makes me wonder if this tragedy could have been prevented. Did his parents, teachers, siblings and friends (if he had them) really miss all the warning signs? How did he get a gun and bullets? I’m sure this will all be revealed during the course of his trials, but we’ll probably never really know the real motivation.
So why did this story affect me more than others? The news was especially shocking to me because whenever you hear about these situations it’s usually somewhere else far away. If you live in Florida, it’s in Idaho. If you’re in Wyoming, it’s in Virginia, etc. Yes, I live in California, but I grew up in Northeastern Ohio and spent many amazing summers going to camp in Chardon.
Chardon was always a sleepy town at the end of a long two-lane road, known primarily for its maple syrup. It’s not far from Cleveland, but not around the corner either. My memories of Chardon include a perfectly blue sky during the day time and a million stars at night. It was a magical place and I am lucky to still have friends that I made there 25+ years ago. Some that I talk to regularly, some only occasionally via Facebook. Regardless, they are part of a large support system that I’ve been very lucky to have. People I could talk to when problems arise, or when I’m feeling down. It’s tragic that T.J. Lane didn’t have that and as a result Chardon will never be the same.
I'm once again linking up with a great panel of writers at Yeah Write #48.
Come find some great new material and vote for your 3 favorites: