Tragedy At Home

{ Monday, February 27, 2012 }
Today a horrific act was committed. A student opened fire at a local high school killing one and injuring four more students. Read the story here.

This school... Chardon High less than ten minutes from my high school and childhood home. I can't count how many times I've been there for sports events, July 4th fireworks, everything. I have multitudes of friends who went to Chardon and know several families who still have children there.

This incident shook me to my very core. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. You literally couldn't trip without someone hearing about it less than a minute later. Chardon is considered a city population wise (as of like a year or two ago), however it's a small community too. Chardon was the center of the rural county I grew up in, and therefore considered a very intricate part of our community. I have close knit connections to that town and the high school. Everyone in Geauga County is hurt and mourning this terrible act. In fact my Twitter and Facebook have been blowing up from my childhood friends and classmates feeling so much pain over what happened.

I am in a state of shock.

The news has literally been saying all day "This could happen anywhere." And that the students saying"I would never thought this would happen in Chardon" is just an indictative statment of teenagers. What they don't understand is just how TRUE that is.

First, watch the video in the article I posted. Everyone in the press conference is on the verge of tears and hurting. The entire community is in shock and sadness. Second, violence DOES NOT happen in our community. My parents chose our town because of it's low crime rates and great school scores. The entire county of Geauga is like that. It's a rural community, most of it's economy is based on agriculture or small factories. Geauga County holds the 3rd largest Amish population in the country, just to give you an idea. The majority of the county is related by blood to someone else, there is hardly anyone (with perhaps the exception of my family) that didn't grow up in Geauga County and has generations of family all over the county. Chances are if you were to throw three stones, two of them would hit people who are related to each other.

Maple Festival, "Downtown" Chardon
 Everyone cares for everyone. Everyone knows everyone. I know a lot of families who don't lock their doors while they are at home. What's the point? You'd probably know the person who walked into your house anyway. Most families have acres of land, so it's nearly impossible to imagine someone walking through all that to just steal something.

Violence is not common. In fact, you rarely hear about someone hurting someone else. The last great tragedy we had as a community is a family that lost a son in a terrible work accident. People just don't go around shooting each other. People don't hurt each other. It just doesn't happen.

The fact is, something was wrong with this young teenager who felt his only option was to hurt people. Even in small communities like ours, bullying is commonplace. But that does not condone these terrible acts. The world can be a harsh place, and knowing the difference between the right and wrong way to deal with it is something parents should teach their children everyday.

I am thinking constantly of the families of the victims which I have many connections to. I ask that you all hug the people you love today. Especially if you have children. Teach them what to do in situations like these. Teach them right from wrong. Making sure your kids know you love them can really make all the difference.

And send that deployed significant other an 'I love you' via email or whatever. You never know what life is gonna give and take from you.


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