This Should Not Be Happening

I owned recess time. I was a star. In elementary school, recess meant sports. Depending upon the season and mood, my friends and I played football, basketball, baseball, or wall ball. I was captain, quarterback, etc. It felt good. I was not shy on the field/court.  My upbringing as the youngest of four boys in a sports-crazed family served me well.

Then, things changed.

As third and fourth grade came around, girls came into the picture. And things got confusing. And awkward. By the time of the graduation trip in sixth grade, one of my best friends had a girlfriend. Did they kiss? I dunno know.  Couldn’t we just focus on sports? Why talk or consider something other than sports?  I understood it, reveled in it, etc. There were girls I liked and those who liked me. I guess. I had no idea how to express such an interest. I was not ready.

By the time I got to high school, some things had changed. Unfortunately, some things had not. I was still awkward and shy. I had a crush on a girl – Shannon – who was in 10th grade when I was in 9th. An older woman. Anyway, we had algebra together, and I sat right behind her.  I used to space out and dream of her. My dreams did not get much beyond holding her. Sometimes, I would find myself wandering behind her in the hallways. No, I was not creepy. Anyway, I never did have much conversation with her, though I did enjoy a friendly relationship with the girl next to her.

I lost out because I was unable to overcome my shyness.

This past week I returned to the high school where I work. The inner city high school is located in East New York Brooklyn. It was nice to see some of my colleagues and catch up on families, summer activities, and gossip. However, the talk was much more than I expected. One of my colleagues informed me about the passing of a student who would have been in the 10th grade.

While I did not know the student, I was terribly saddened. I was informed that he was shot, gang style. Someone knocked on his door and shot him in the head. He lingered in a coma for a month before succumbing to death.

Why? Why did this terrible thing happen? Why are kids killing each other? Someone said it was over a girl. Are you kidding me? At 14, kids kill each other over a girl?  What kind of relationship can a 14-year-old have? This is not Romeo and Juliet (who did not have much of a relationship either, by the way). Did he make a pass at a girl who was “taken”?  Does it matter?

I’m sure there’s a middle ground here somewhere, between me – too shy to have a real conversation with a girl – and those who would shoot someone because he got in the way of a ‘relationship’.

A dead boy, a grieving mother – this should not be happening.

39 thoughts on “This Should Not Be Happening

  1. My sincerest sympathies to your entire community. I can’t begin to understand the mindset that would lead a young man to such a drastic act. If only we could rewind and take the kids back to the days when basketball, stick ball and playing in the fields (I grew up in the country) were the priorities after school. If only there was a way to get them to believe us when we say that at 14, the opposite isn’t all that.

  2. That’s awful. So sad. I just don’t get stuff like this. Like you said, at that age, what could possibly have been so serious that they would resort to violence?

  3. Kids today have lost their innocence. It sounds trite to say it but it’s true. They grow up too quickly and imagine themselves older and wiser than they are. I’m so sorry for the loss of this young life, but I am equally sorry for the loss of innocence in the person who committed the murder. We’re failing these kids as a society if we’ve led them to believe that murder is ever the answer to a personal disappointment or affront.

    • I wouldn’t make a blanket statement that. However, I do agree as a whole kids grow up fast and are exposed to more at a younger age.
      I am not sure of an answer or if one exists. I do think change can only come one family at a time.

      • Maybe I should have said that it seems like kids today have lost some innocence from when I was a kid or that maybe kids in lower socio-economic situations lose their innocence earlier than kids from middle class neighborhoods. You’re right that the blanket statement was probably unnecessary. Having said that, however, I think the children in the situation you described definitely are victims of lost innocence. 🙁

  4. As the mother of a murdered son, I feel such pain for that boy’s mother and her family. My son was 21, he was shot and killed by a family friend, along with his best friend. Why? Just because he wanted to kill someone and Arron was handy. The killer was in his 40’s. He will never get out of prison, but there are times it simply isn’t enough and my anger steps in once again.

    You are right, it shouldn’t have happened. But, the gang and the government has long since replaced many fathers in the lives of young boys and young men. They don’t know HOW to be anything but violent and survival of the fittest. They have no examples of men to follow, and no one tells them that being macho and carrying a gun to solve imagined slights to their macho male egos is stupid.

    I carry a gun, so I am not anti gun, I am anti stupid parents. After all, they generally buy the kid the baggy pants, ugly clothes, ridiculously expensive tennis shoes, and let them run the streets with their fancy phones and weapons. Sad fact is, more will die before they stop killing each other. Until folks start telling them they are wrong to act the way they do, and gangsta crap isn’t cool, and until parents stop letting kids listen to that horrific violent music of the gangsta lifestyle, they will keep killing because it makes them cool. It makes them MEN.

    I will never get over losing my eldest son. I have learned to live through the pain and sorrow. I raised his daughter from the age of one, and now she is going to have her own baby. Every time I think of a milestone in Crystal’s life, I miss my son. Happy/Sad . . . sigh.

    • Firstly, I am so very sorry for your loss. I can not imagine losing my child and can only expess my sympathy to you.
      I do not know the reason and or soloution and do not pretend for it to be simple. However, I do very much agree with you that the breakdown of the family is a big factor and parents need to reconsider their own actions.
      I hope that parents should have not to experience the misforutne that you have.

      • Thank you for the kind thoughts. None of us can imagine what it feels like to lose a child. I am in an ever growing club of parents who lost a child to violence. It is my deepest prayer that NO other parents ever have to suffer losing a child like the parents of that young boy in your school system.

        One bit of advice I always give when talking to parents about losing Arron, always hug your kids and tell them you love them, because you will never know if it will be the last time you get to say it. Take time to be together without distractions, talk to your kids, tell them stories, build memories that will last a life time for all of you.

        The last words my son ever said to me was, “I love you, Mom.” I am so thankful for that memory. On September 11th, he would have been 38 years old. I miss him so.

  5. I am so sorry for the loss of another child. Each loss is painful for so many people. Your post made me think about my own teen boys. They are a bit shy like you were as a child. Sometimes I have wondered why they do not have girls calling or hanging around yet. I guess I was worrying about the wrong thing. Their time will come fpr relationships. Hopefully, like you, when they are ready. How the argument started abount the girl is not nearly as important as how it was resolved. Children must be taught other ways to deal with disappointment, sadness, anger, and loss.

  6. How awful. Like you said, another statistic. But not to that kid’s loved ones, and not to the people who had dreams for him. I agree that though the reality for kids’ today is complex and can’t be summed up in any one statement, it would appear that the loss is tragic all the same.

  7. Oh my goodness, how sad and unnecessary. How can someone decide to do such an awful thing and at such a young age? I am sorry for the loss your community must be feeling.

  8. Hi,
    Reading this made me sad. I hurt when I hear about kids taking each other lives about dumb stuff. I believe though it has a lot to do with the home environment, the television shows that kids are watching and the ethics that are not being taught these days in the home. Somehow or another we have lost the ability to think about others. People are becoming more selfish and it is all about what I want without any consideration for others. When a kid sees this taking place in his home environment, he takes it outside also. Unfortunately, he or she takes a life and ruins his own life at the same time. It is horrible and should make us think about the influences that invade children lives and causes them to do things that bring such consequences.

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