Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Things have changed

Yesterday morning a man in our neighborhood was murdered. He was a grandfather, a husband, a father, a businessman and now he's gone. He was murdered in a home break-in. They woke his family and him up at 4am, tied them, gagged them, beat his wife and shot him. Things like that don't happen in our area. Things like that should not happen in our neighborhood.

We have lived in our house 8 years and never once have I felt scared in this house. We live out in the boondocks and yet I have never had a moment's unease in our home or on our property.

Until now.

We don't have many neighbors but, aside from the dog-hitting neighbor, we get along with the few we have. I have exchanged recipes with the elderly lady who lives to the west of us. She's sent us dinner and I've sent them dinner when the other is under the weather. Her husband helped me dispose of a dead kitten once before the kids got home and Paul has gone up to help him with some farm machinery. We wave to cars we meet on the dirt road - whether we know them or not. Paul has gone down to the creek bottom at 11 at night a time or two when we've heard the sounds of a truck stuck in the mud. Last week when the neighbor girl to the east broke up with her boyfriend Abby and I made her cookies because we are firm believers that cookies make everything better.

But I'm afraid cookies won't fix this.

For the first time in their lives, my kids were scared when they went to bed last night. That hurt my heart so badly. I tucked them in, assured them once again that their daddy and I were doing every we knew to do to keep them safe. I kissed foreheads, told them I loved them then walked into the living room and busted into tears. Paul didn't sleep in the bed with me last night - he slept on the couch with a loaded gun close by. The Glock he bought me a few years ago that I have never fired nor felt the need to and has been tucked away separate from the clip for years now, was pulled out of hiding, loaded and put where I can get to it if I need to.

Now, you might say we're overreacting but when something so heinous, so shocking, so tragic happens in a small rural community just outside of a small town....I think maybe everyone overracts in their own way. Ours just happens to be by arming ourselves to the hilt. While I have my pistol, Paul also showed me how to shoot his semi-automatic assault rifle and how to shoot from the hip with the shotgun and that putting it to my shoulder and aiming isn't necessary if I'm trying to knock someone out the front door away from our kids. One of my Facebook friends left a status message last night that her husband had given her her first handgun lesson. It's springtime - a time we usually have the doors and windows open. Not right now. Maybe not ever again.

My heart is sad, my soul is weary, my body is exhausted. I woke up to every sound last night. I checked on the kids several times. I walked the floor, looking out the windows, checking the door locks.

No, I'm afraid this is too big for cookies.

17 comments:

CGHill said...

Nothing ever prepares you for this sort of thing: even if you live in Beautiful Downtown Detroit, it always seems to happen somewhere else.

At least you're taking the proper steps in your own house. And knowledge that you're doing the right thing can overcome a whole heap of fear.

Eventually.

Lizzybeth said...

My word. I'm praying for you guys.

You're right. It's different when it's a rural community. The good thing is that, while your kids may never forget this (I know...when I was 7 a family member was murdered by another just a few miles away), they are resilient and will be able to move on from this. They'll stop being afraid. But while they are, rest assured knowing that you are a good mom and will listen to them if they need to talk or cry. Which, honestly, is one of the most important things.

Jeankfl said...

I can't believe this has happened in our area. I don't even lock my doors! I guess I will, I think you're only 15 or 20 miles from me.That's just terrible. I hope you all can feel good about your neighborhood, again. When it comes down to it, it's not our guns that keep us safe, it's the Lord.. Pray protection over your house and children.. I am..
hugs,
Jean

Jeankfl said...

I think we should just advertise that you and Nadine are armed!! That should keep them away!LOL Keep your chin up, girl.

Blondie said...

OH. MY. GOSH.
How terrifying! No, cookies won't fix this but I fully agree with arming yourselves. I grew up in a mini-arsenal with complete knowledge of how to use whatever weapon I came across if the need presented itself. It's good that you are both prepared.
Prayers and hugs to all of you. I hope that whoever did this is caught and dealt with accordingly!
Janna

DeadpanAnn said...

These are scary times. We have several weapons in the house, and just recently I purchased a semi automatic pistol which is now being kept near my bed just in case. Mississippi law is very friendly to people defending their homes from invaders, and if someone comes into this house they're not going to be able to hurt us or our child without encountering a hell of a fight.

I'm sorry this happened but I really think your kids will be okay. It's not entirely harmful to have our safe little worlds shaken up from time to time. It keeps us on our toes. I do think you'll sleep with the windows open again, eventually.

Did they catch the person yet?

GERBEN said...

I am so sorry to read this Diva. ((hug)) I really don't know what I would do if something like this were to happen near our home. I know we are miles apart, but the way you talk about your small town and country life, I think we probably live about the same type of life style.

I hope that they catch whoever did this and I pray for this man's family as well as your own. May they find peace and your family feel safe in their home again.

Nadine Hightower said...

Roy taught me years ago...goes along with being a Cop's Wife...to shoot.

And the guns are loaded. And ready to Rock and Roll!

Seriously, it's just so sad we have to do any of it.

Stay Safe.

Jill of All Trades said...

I can't even come up with words to express here. How horrible. My thoughts are with your family. Be strong.

Jennifer said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your neighbors as they deal with the tragedy.

Trust me when I say I understand completely your arming to the hilt. I suffered a Home Invasion last year in a home my husbands family had lived in for 50 years. We did not even know where the keys to the locks were!...

I just thank the lord the drugged up woman who broke in and tried to strangle my Mother In Law did not spot the loaded 22 standing up in the corner by the front door.


((((((( Hugs)))))))))

Kelly said...

This is horrible! I remember feeling this way when something similar happened to me my Freshman year of college. Unsettling is certainly not a good enough word for it, but it is so very unsettling. Sending good thoughts to you and your family wishing them peace.

Kristin said...

I am so sorry about this. It seems like such a shock and I am sorry for your community.

Pam said...

So sad ! I know the feeling of being afraid, my watchdog caught an intruder in our yard, about 4 years ago and I remember how afraid my daughter was for a long time ! But being armed is a good thing and your right. But peace will come again, I know, since I have been there, though not to this degree

Cris said...

Get you a territorial dog that will scare the UPS and USPS guys away. Oh and fill your yard with garbage. You never hear about people in trashed out houses getting attacked. Redneck living might be your best defense. I have some extra old tires and a few dead lawn mowers if you need them.

Be safe, but statistics can't be ignored. You gotta be safe with guns with kids around. ( I know "DUH!" right?) BUt I have had students accidently kill other students while bragging about the gun in the house. You know, things in life you can never forget no matter how hard you try so it is ALWAYS the first thought in your head? Yeah, kind of like that.

Cissy said...

That's pretty scary stuff.

Brodrick Family said...

I hope the kids get to feeling better about everything. Hubby and I are already armed to the hilt and just keep adding more. (remember the guns over the bed! LOL) But it is still an unsettling feeling. And we are making sure that the guns are within arms reach at ALL times, not just at night. If you need anything we aren't that far away since we bought our house back in the area!

Ricochet said...

I was living in a nice suburb when the kid next door killed his girl friend. We had guns - I got a dog.

Long time ago - he's still in prison. That dog and the one that followed are in doggy heaven and I don't live there anymore.