A Goodbye to John

Dear John,

I wish I could tell you that writing this “dear John” letter is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but that would not be true. Actually, it delights me. It gives me a chance to shower you with all the pent up emotion your words and actions have created within me.

John… why did you do it?

Didn’t a common sense thought or two ever give you pause… even a little pause?

It seems as though you get all full of yourself, puff out that chest and think you are the most wondrous thing that ever grabbed a couple of slices of bread for that baloney you let slide from those moving lips.

Do you know you lie? Everyone else does. “Does” as in knowing you do.

I remember when it was me being the fool. Me standing up to people saying you were this hero-in-waiting. Oh my. Did I really believe and say all those positive things about you? I truly wish someone could tell me I really didn’t, but there is no one that can.

I was fooled.

Yes, I was fooled or you truly changed between then and now. It doesn’t matter though. Today is what matters. How you are today… what you are doing today… that’s where we are and what counts the most in this moment.

You lied.

I trusted you and you lied.

Not only did you lie and do the opposite of what you promised – you smiled so gleefully about it. You were so proud of yourself. Guess it had to be you proud of you, because no one else was. Everyone else was let down… ticked off… or delighted you played for their team, rather than ours.

Tonight you did the deed that can’t be undone. You proved you only care about you and the prize you think you have won. But, John, your prize is not a pretty one. It’s a lead-weight sinking you. Yes, as you have destroyed the lives of so many people – your life, too, is destroyed.

I’m sorry, John. Sorry you didn’t feel, listen and respond as the hero you thought yourself to be. Had you – people might smile warmly for years to come when they thought of you or heard your name.

Might have, but not now.

You may not believe me tonight, but you will. Eventually, it will all become clear to you and you will regret these moments that you can no longer undo. It will be your legacy.

Yes, you will be remembered. Sadly so.

Now, you shall be remembered for the misery you made happen when it was up to you to make the choice.

It shall be your cloak of shame to embrace throughout eternity.

You did your dirty deed.

Now you shall live with it as you have made others live with your non-mercy!

I haven’t much more to say about my disappointment in you, except that I am. I am very disappointed in you and it is with cause. Luckily, I shall not be at your side or even in some corner whispering support of you. Instead, I’m out of here.

May the nightmares of truth fill your nights and walk with you each day!

Goodbye, John.

Copyright © 2017 Carrie K. Hutchens

A senseless death…

St. Louis Police Officer Don Re wrote this blog post about the March 11, 2015 shooting death of a 6-year-old boy.

We arrived at the Children’s Hospital Emergency Room at the same time.

He and his partner parked and I pulled up to their left and did the same.

I got out of my car and watched as the officer hurried from his seat and opened the back, driver’s side door.

When the officer grabbed the boy from the back seat of his police Tahoe, I knew almost instantly.

Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson

There was a split second though, before instantly I guess, where I didn’t know. For that split second, the officer looked like any dad grabbing his sleeping boy from the car and putting the boy’s head on his shoulder to carry him inside to sleep comfortably in his own bed.

For that split second, it was a sweet moment.

The officer, an around fifty year old white guy, clutched the little boy over his left shoulder gently, but with a clear purpose. The boy was small, a black child with his hair in corn rows and dressed as a typical five or six-year-old dresses.

He reminded me of my own six-year-old son.

The sudden, pained look on the officer’s face and the fact that the boy wasn’t crying or yelling or doing anything other than appearing to be asleep made the split second fantasy fade away fast.

We hurried into the emergency room where we were met by the trauma team and hospital staff. I’m always in awe at how these emergency room doctors and nurses and staff are so able to get to working on a patient so fast.

There was some sliver of hope that the boy would make it, at least that’s what we all wanted to believe.

The truth, and I think we all knew it, was that this boy would never fall asleep in his own bed again. When the officer laid the boy down on the gurney and stood back upright, any wind that may have been in my sails quickly faded to nothing.

His shirt said it all.

STL officer in Marcus Johnson caseWhere the boy’s little heart had laid so close to the officer’s own heart, was a mess that told us things would not end well.

The three of us officers, with nearly fifty years of city police experience under our collective belts, waited not so stoically outside of trauma room two as the doctors and nurses busted their tails to save this little guy.

We paced and exchanged awkward smiles with each other and the nurses and staff who were passing by. There were several times when one or all of us was close to tears, but we held it together.

It was hard for the officer, because he did the best he could and it wasn’t going to be enough. It was hard for me, because I have a son about that age at home and couldn’t imagine anything like this happening to him.

It was awkward because we were all hoping, but we also knew that it was going to take a miracle for that boy to live.

He was not granted that miracle.

Just like that, at a couple of minutes after 8pm, a five-year old boy was gone forever.

The sheet of paper, which I’ve seen way to many times, verified it. It’s the one with a line printed on it. When it’s completely straight, you’ve died. You’ve straight-lined, as they say.

I was done with being in the hospital. I wanted to leave.

To go back to my car, I had to walk past the same group of people who were in the waiting room when we walked past them earlier with the dying boy. Three little boys grabbed at me and asked me if that boy we carried in earlier was dead.

“Did he die, officer? Was that boy dead?” They asked me.

I got no help from their mom, as she was tending to a clearly sick kid of her own.

6-year-old Marcus Johnson Family photo

6-year-old Marcus Johnson Family photo

“Boys, he’s fine. He’s a strong boy, just like you guys.”

I felt bad lying, but it seemed easier than having to explain death to three strange kids all under ten years old.

I went to my car and grabbed a bunch of Dum-Dums from the bag I carry around. Mom was cool with me giving them suckers, and they left me alone about the dead boy they still thought was alive.

I couldn’t tell them that the boy who was about their same age had straight-lined.

Five-year olds shouldn’t straight line.

Why did this one?

Because of gun violence in the city.

The weather was nice so the people were out.

Some people were out with their guns.

Why did this boy have to die?

Was it disrespect?

Drugs?

A woman?

Money?

All stupid reasons to fire a gun anywhere near another human being, let alone children, but here we are again, with another child lost to violence.

We tried to save this boy.

The officer showed up and there was a hostile crowd of people, most of whom had nothing to do with the shooting, and most not even sure what they should be angry at. The were just angry because anger is easy. Patience is hard. Kindness in the face of adversity is hard. Understanding is hard.

Some chose to be angry at the police while others were taking video on their phone. Meanwhile, nobody was helping a child as he lay dying on the sidewalk from a bullet that had torn through his little body.

The officer fought through the angry crowd and put a dying boy he didn’t know in his car.

Did he have to do that?

No.

EMS was coming, but they were too far away. It was too risky to wait for them, so we raced that little guy to the hospital in record time. We had all sorts of cars shutting down the route to the hospital, just like we would were a fellow cop shot and in need of medical care. That’s about the highest honor we can give a person, and this boy deserved it.

Still, it didn’t matter on this night.

I truly believe that when it’s your time, it’s your time.

Five years shouldn’t be anyone’s time, but that’s not my call.

It’s queer, but I left hospital and went back in service to handle more calls. I had to handle some subsequent calls with a little dead boy freshly on my mind.

That’s the thing with policing. It never ends. You have to carry on, so I pretended to care about a car accident and a stolen bike when I just wanted to shout in their faces, “AT LEAST YOU DIDN’T DIE AT FIVE YEARS OLD FROM A BULLET THROUGH YOUR CHEST!!! I HAVE NO INTEREST IN YOUR BULLSHIT PROBLEMS RIGHT NOW!”

But that’s not professional.

I’m wrapping this up having finished a six pack of Bud Light Lime and I just kissed all three of my own sleeping kids as well as my wife. I also laid on the ground and wrestled my dogs at 2 am, even though one of them is dying and has no interest in playing, and I have to work in the morning.

I’m still thinking about a boy I never met alive, and hoping he’s in a better place.

I’m looking at my own six year old’s homework folder and wondering if this dead boy has a homework folder in a backpack never to be turned in again. Will his mom see it when she gets home and cry? Did he have a lunch packed for the next day that will still be in the fridge this weekend to remind his family of a lunch that was never taken to school?

Did he go to kindergarten?

Will somebody have to explain to his classmates that they’ll never see this little guy alive again and why?

This is all too sad and it needs to stop.

Someone please figure out how.

Printed with permission of the author:
don of all trades

3-Year-Old Jumps From Burning Home

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

BIRMINGHAM, AL–It’s harrowing video from a house fire in Alabama where a young child escaped by jumping from a second story window.

Kerry Jackson is heard in the video, yelling for the child to jump. He caught the dramatic moments before firefighters arrived on camera.

“I really didn’t have an emotion running through me at the time. It was just like I need him, we need him to jump,” said explained.

Jackson’s cousin caught the little boy. They heard another child may be trapped, so they ran to the back. A woman in the video is heard yelling, ‘There’s a child inside.'”

“People’s lives were in danger, people screaming. Everybody in community came together to help one another,” Jackson explained.

Neighbors couldn’t get to one child, but a firefighter did. After giving the child to EMTs, he fell to the ground.

Full Article, Video & Source:
3-Year-Old Jumps From Burning Home

3-Year-Old Jumps From Burning Home

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

BIRMINGHAM, AL–It’s harrowing video from a house fire in Alabama where a young child escaped by jumping from a second story window.

Kerry Jackson is heard in the video, yelling for the child to jump. He caught the dramatic moments before firefighters arrived on camera.

“I really didn’t have an emotion running through me at the time. It was just like I need him, we need him to jump,” said explained.

Jackson’s cousin caught the little boy. They heard another child may be trapped, so they ran to the back. A woman in the video is heard yelling, ‘There’s a child inside.'”

“People’s lives were in danger, people screaming. Everybody in community came together to help one another,” Jackson explained.

Neighbors couldn’t get to one child, but a firefighter did. After giving the child to EMTs, he fell to the ground.

Full Article, Video & Source:
3-Year-Old Jumps From Burning Home

New hope for motel kids

moving kids from motel 1Just blocks from “The Happiest Place on Earth,” in one of the richest counties in America, Demond, Ashley, and their four kids have been living in a cramped, run-down motel room for a year and a half. Between the six of them, they share one bed and one small couch. Surprisingly, they aren’t welfare cases; Demond and Ashley both work full-time at Walmart. But like thousands of other families in Orange County alone, they struggle to save enough to pay the first-month/last-month/security deposit that landlords require. And so they’re stuck.

“It eats up all your money so you can’t afford to move,” says Ashley, “Even if you could afford an apartment of your own, with kids, and the rent, you can’t save any money to do anything except stay here.” To compound the problem, Ashley’s mom had an eviction when Ashley was living with her – a fact that shows up on Ashley’s credit history. So Demond and Ashley pay $1300 a month for the dubious privilege of living in a single motel room where the kids aren’t even allowed by the management to play in the parking lot. For Christmas, they’d like nothing more than to get out of the motel and into a stable home.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article, Video & Source:
New hope for motel kids