This weekend is the Natal Day long weekend here in Canada. The weather began to clear up a few days ago and the forecasters were calling for bright, sunshiny days, and warm summery nights. Around our house it was meant to be a relaxing couple days for everyone. We’d not planned any major trips or events. We were just going to chill out and enjoy whatever happened to come up.
Now it’s Sunday afternoon, and I can say with all honesty that no one in our family expected this weekend to play out the way it has. There’s been no real fun, the laughs we’ve shared have felt forced, smiles are hard and our minds all seem occupied on other things. We’re all drifting in our own currents trying to figure out how to get things back on track. We are trying to keep things as normal as possible, but for me it’s really hard. I’m angry. More angry than I’ve ever felt in my life.
I’ve got a story I need to tell, for purely selfish reasons. I’m not looking for sympathy by sharing what’s happened. I’m only trying to use this blog and my ability to write whatever I want to release some of the anger that’s making me into a really unbearable person.
The story starts out normal enough, a few days ago shortly after supper my son asked me if he could go over to a friends house to practice their HALO team game. Him and a group of friends have been participating in the local MLG competitions for some time now. (MLG is Major League Gaming – video gaming at a professional level normally involving co-op strategy/war games.) Anyways, it was about six-thirty in the evening, the sun was still shining and would be for at least four more hours. For my son to get to his friend’s house he would need to walk about ten minutes from our house. Along sidewalks in a suburban neighborhood of single family homes. Halfway there he would pass by the local high school, one of the most desirable schools in our area. Along with the school there are basketball courts, tennis courts and a nice playground for the younger kids, all well-maintained and in use most every day.
My kids have always had pretty strict rules they must obey. They’re never allowed outside past dark, we must always know where they are and who they are with. We drive them and their friends wherever they would like to go. And they always carry cell phones in case of emergency. But at fifteen I felt my son was mature enough to walk the ten minutes to his friends house. At some point as a parent you need to loosen the reins and give them a little freedom. And really it was only a ten minute walk. I know that allowing him to go was right, but I feel guilty that I didn’t drive him. Which is unreasonable I know.
Back to the story, my son has just passed by the high school I mentioned earlier and is only a few minutes away from his destination. But instead of walking the rest of the way, he ends up running as fast as he can. He needs to get to the safety of a friends home and a telephone. But why would he be running for a phone? He has the cell phone in his pocket to call for help if he needs it, right? No. He doesn’t have a cell phone anymore, or his iPod, or his backpack. And he’s scared to death.
What the hell happened? In a nice neighborhood, within shouting distance of people enjoying the sun, mowing their lawns, walking their dogs, pushing kids on swings – in this setting two men told my son that whatever he had in his pockets was worth more than his life.
About twenty minutes after saying good-bye to my son, I answered the phone to hear him screaming that someone tried to shoot him. Without letting him say another word I demanded to know where he was and screamed to the hubs to “GO GET HIM!” Hubs was out the door in seconds and I stayed on the phone with my son until hubs got there. Then I went to join them.
When I pulled up to the house, son was in hubs car and the police were there. They wanted the whole story and then for us to go home and wait. Here is what my son said:
I was walking along the sidewalk and two guys were walking toward me. I hopped on the curb to let them pass, then an arm grabbed me and spun me around. The guys got on either side of me and walked with me, talking like old friends. Then they told me to give them everything in my pockets, my iPod I was listening to and my backpack. When I said no, thinking they were joking, one guy pulled a gun from behind his belt buckle. So I handed over everything. They looked on my cell phone and asked if the name on a message was me, then told me that they knew who I was and that I shouldn’t tell anyone since they knew me. They pushed away from me and one guy said, you know we normally stab people so they can’t run, but you’re pretty young so you better run fast.
Can you believe that? I’m outraged that this could happen! Who are these assholes? But wait there’s the catch, the thing that makes me feel like a rabid dog, the thing that makes me want to go find them and murder them. To hurt them, slowly, so slowly. I want them to scream. I want them to pray to whatever god they believe in. What is killing me is that I know who these men are. But I can do nothing.
After talking to the police and being assured that they would be working on finding out what happened, I headed back home. But I decided, completely on a whim, to pull into a local convenience store to ask the owner if these two men came by. My son had gotten a very good look at them, he knew what they were wearing, what they looked like and most importantly – one of the men had a scar that went from the top of his cheekbone down to his neck. That was a pretty good and unique identifier. When I asked the clerk, he couldn’t recall a pair like this coming in, but then a person I knew came into the store and overheard. This person knew exactly who I was talking about. I was told that these guys were dangerous and with a promise to not say where I’d found out I got their names. Names that apparently the police are very familiar with. Names that a few other people have confirmed as the guys that assaulted my son.
Thankfully, they never physically harmed my son, but it is still assault. My son is and may continue to suffer from what they did to him. He can’t sleep, his appetite is gone and he’s scared. How do you fix these things? After being called and summoned to the police detachment my son and us spent hours, giving statements, answering questions, looking at photo spreads the police arranged. I understand that there are certain procedures that must be followed. I do. But my instinct is demanding vengeance, blood, pain. We know their names, and I want to just throw all the rules aside and go after them. The police try to say that it will work out and hey we might even get my son’s stuff back. But I don’t want his stuff back, that’s not the point. I want to scare them, I want to terrify them, I want them to experience what my son felt.
This is what I am fighting against at the moment. My mind is constantly thinking of how to hurt these bastards. And it’s wrong. Not for any religious or moral reasons, but because I know that if I do anything it can definitely ruin any chances we have of receiving justice the lawful way. We’ve been told these perpetrators will likely go to trial and receive jail-time. For now this is enough to slightly calm me, to focus on not blowing up in front of our family. But I worry that this instinct I feel to attack them is too strong and too natural to vanish completely. I understand that there are basic animal instincts that human beings, no matter how civilized, will always have in their genes. And I now believe that the mother’s instinct to protect her cubs is the strongest and most violent. It is a reaction that came so naturally to me, and I still feel that if I saw these two men walking down the street, it would be impossible not to tear them apart, to revel in their destruction.
Not such a nice story to hear on a beautiful August day, but I needed to get this off my chest. I’m hoping that by writing out my thoughts it might lighten my mind for just a minute. If you’ve made it this far I thank you. Thank you for listening to my rant. Thank you for sharing this experience with me. And if I seem to be less active or chatty or good at blogging and commenting, this is why.
© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.