Sunday, May 13, 2012

the end of innocence

I went to high school in a medium sized city of 28,000 that was located very close to Orlando.  I lived in a nice suburb, just around the corner from an impressive sports complex, and within a five minute bicycle ride from the high school.  I spent almost every afternoon after school running in the trails of the park or swimming in the pool.  I could ride the bike trail between my home, school and sports complex almost with my eyes closed.  It was a charmed life.  I knew that not everyone else had a charmed life; one of my best friends came, literally, from the other side of the tracks.  He had more family members in prison than out and carried a baseball bat in his car even though he didn't play baseball.  He used to park around the corner from my home and wait for me to sneak out of my window to take me to punk rock shows in seedy bars.  But he was also street smart and managed to keep me in my safe bubble despite the late night shenanigans.

Last month two students from my high school were found burning on the bike trail.  They had been murdered and set alight by a couple of men with long, felony rap sheets.  Even all these years later, I am more shocked than I should be.  I am aware of horrible violence in the world; my sister worked with some scary people in the beginning of her medical career but somehow this city has remained as an oasis of innocence in my mind.  In November one of my former classmates went missing after a custody disagreement with the father of her children (and number one suspect in her disappearance).  She has not been found.  Fifteen miles away another student, Trayvon Martin, was shot while walking in his own neighborhood.  Now this.  I guess there are no safe places anymore.

No comments: