Unless you live under a rock, you are probably at least peripherally aware of this story, about yet another child, a girl named Somer Thompson who disappeared while walking home from school on Monday. She was found dead yesterday in a dump in Georgia.
This story has hit me hard.
I know, this kind of thing happens all too often, and most of the time, isn’t even a blurb in the headlines. The sad fact is, people become victims every day, and far too often, those people are children.
The reason THIS particular story is getting to me so intensely is because this happened in our county. Our neighborhood. Within mere miles of our home. I have friends with kids who go to that school. There are still fliers with her face on them taped to the stop signs on our street.
My own child has been talking about it with the other kids in her school. She’s aware of what is going on, because it’s impossible to avoid. She told me this morning how yesterday the kids talked about kidnappers having knives and sharp things because they want to kill kids.
She also said she wanted to help find this girl, because otherwise she might die. She wanted to join the throngs of people who have come from everywhere to search for this child. She came up with this completely on her own, mind you. Told me that we had to help find her, so she could be safe and not dead. Because if she was dead, her mom would be sad.
And this morning I had to tell her that the girl did, in fact, die.
I really, really did not want to have to have that conversation with my six year old this morning. Or ever.
How do we deal with these things when they come so close to home? Do we downplay them? Lie? Do we use them as teaching examples, to stress the importance of safety and “stranger danger”? Do we just accept that these things happen, no matter where we live, and we must always be vigilant- we must live in fear- to some extent?
I just don’t know.
All I do know is that my heart goes out to this family. I just can’t fathom how someone could hurt, kill and then throw a child away like trash. It’s unthinkable.
It’s a parents worst nightmare.