Sunday, February 19, 2012

Still day 49, a bit of sad news.

I wanted to post this separately because it's not a happy post. 16 year old Angela Allen was a girl from Van Buren who started talking to - and eventually meeting up with - a complete stranger online. This stranger was a very dangerous man and sadly, the girl was killed and dumped off this road just outside our town.

It's surreal - the other night I dropped my sister-in-law off at her friend's house not even 5 miles from this spot. I thought "Oh, cool. Police cars and things. I wonder what's going on." It was pretty sobering to turn on the news when I got back home.

Being in such a small town (under 2,000 people) is much different than what I'm used to, after having graduated from a university that had a population of around 30,000; and that's just the university - not the whole city that it's in. Here, the man who's been arrested for this horrific crime isn't someone who someone else somewhere in the city must somehow know; he's an acquaintance of a friend! Everything and everyone is just so close that it's a much more shocking. Not that this wouldn't be devastating in any other community, but it's almost as if the more people there are in a community, the more shock absorption there seems to be.

I'm lost for words. I don't know what to say - I don't even know if I've written this in a coherent or respectable manner. I just worry because it's so close to home geographically but also, now, emotionally. Since getting married, I have acquired - if you will - a little sister that I can now be protective of and it's great, but after coming from a home of just me and brothers, it's just odd to have that sense of protectiveness, you know? I don't feel that way about my brothers, but they're lads. They're less likely to get taken advantage of by the opposite sex. It's just weird. I don't know what else to say.

I guess this: be careful! I know that there are still going to be people who talk to strangers online and there will still be people who think it's a great idea to meet up with them. Even more so in secret, right? Don't be stupid. Just think about what you're doing. This girl made a silly mistake and has paid for it with her life. Don't do the same thing! Don't think that it can't happen to you. Don't think that this is a shame but you're different. That's what she thought. She didn't plan on this happening. She didn't want this to happen.

At the moment - until we have a little girl of our own - the only girl I can talk to like this is my sister-in-law with my wifey. I just hope that you who may read this will pass it on. Just think about what you're doing. It's not worth it. Don't be stupid. Don't even think that you can know all you need to know about someone by talking to them for long enough online. It's frustrating that there will still be people - despite this happening - that think they're the exception to the rule and they'll do it, too.

I don't know what to say. Just don't be silly. I'm rambling. This tragedy could have been avoided and I just hope that with it comes a lesson to you who may think you're the exception and you who may think it's not going to happen to you because it very well could.

I'm sure you get my point. I'm going to leave it there.

Sorry to ramble, thanks for putting up with it.


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