As I sat in the barber’s chair, a customer bursted through the doors and announced, “There’s been a stabbing at the college.”
My heart dropped as I processed what he was saying. I knew exactly which college he was talking about – the one less than a mile from my house and adjacent to son’s elementary school.
While the shop patrons commenced their analysis of the situation complete with conspiracy theories and predictions of society’s downfall, I frantically searched for news on my phone. One of the barbers turned on the TV and found a live report. It stated that one suspect had been apprehended while another suspect was on the loose. We saw many ambulances, police cars, and life flight helicopters on the scene. It didn’t look good.
I immediately called my wife at home to see if she had any additional information, but she didn’t answer. I dialed he cell phone. Nothing. I started to worry because she usually answered her phones before the second ring.
As the story continued to develop, I realized that I needed to find out how my son’s school was responding to the situation. I searched my contacts only to realize that I didn’t have the schools’ phone number (note: please make sure to keep important phone numbers with you at all times).
The news reports showed several students’ being loaded into ambulances and my anxiety level grew higher. Many kids from my neighborhood and church attended this school. I prayed that they were okay.
When the barber finished my haircut, I raced to my car to go to my son’s school. As I drove, I dialed my wife again. This time she answered.
“Have you heard about the stabbing at the college?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “I’ve been working.”
“Did the school call?” I asked. “Do you know if they’re on lockdown?”
“They probably are,” she said nonchalantly.
“How can you be so calm?” I asked. Usually, she’s the one who’s freaking out.
“Because I’ve seen the school’s safety procedures in action,” she said. “I know that they’ll keep our boy safe.”
Her words gave me some comfort, but I decided to do a quick drive-by before proceeding with my errands.
When my son got home, I gave him a hug and asked about his day.
“We couldn’t go outside for recess because the school was locked down,” he said.
“Do you know why?” I asked.
“They didn’t say,” he said.
I told him about what had happened at the college and let him know that he had nothing to worry about.
“I wasn’t worried,” he said. “I was just mad that we couldn’t go to the playground.”
I wish that going to the playground were the extent to my worries. It seems as if tragic events such as the Lone Star College stabbing, the Boston Marathon Bombing, and the West, TX fertilizer plant explosion, are occurring on a more frequent basis.
I want to keep my family safe. I want to protect them. I want to wrap my arms around them and let them know that everything will be okay, but I cannot give them that guarantee. As much as I’d like to, I can’t be with them all the time nor can I fully shield them from the evil in this world. Bad things are going to happen and I can’t do anything to stop that. However, I can equip my children them with the skills to recognize dangerous situations and the courage to overcome fear. Most of all, I can teach them that love will always conquer hate. And my love for them is stronger than any knife-wielding college student.