This year a coworker sent me a news post of a murder.
The news mentioned a guy with a name I didn’t really recognized but it said that he was 2 years older than me, and graduated from the same college on the same major. I look up the name on Facebook and I immediately recognize him, I had a couple of classes with him and he was the president of my major’s student association (I didn’t get involved much with these kind of things).
He beat his girlfriend to death, stayed inside the house with the body for 3 days and then killed himself with a plastic bag. It surprisingly affected me more than I expected since I barely even knew the guy, I felt sick the whole day.
Didn’t impact me much after, but it sucks, the poor girl was highly involved in non-profit organizations and they looked like a fine couple, strange world.
I went to school with a popular guy, on the pro athlete team, but always kept to himself he seemed to only interact with others when he was playing with his teammates. But he wasn’t awkwardly quiet or anything he said hey/smiled at others cool content guy. But then, he was on the news for killing his girlfriend, girlfriend’s mom, and little sister (minor). It was a domestic violence situation until he decided to take things further I guess. Police found him walking down the street with blood all over him. It just seems weird because you know this person and it makes you wonder what made them react to that extent.
I cut my teeth as a teacher at a rough school in Portsmouth. It was a deprived area where lots of students had it tough outside the school gates – lots of drug-addicted parents, thieves as role models, etc. I’ve posted before about a boy who pulled a knife in my classroom.
I once taught a boy called Carter. He was a rude, aggressive boy who liked to make people squirm. He had streak in him that, when it came out, made him into something akin to evil – cutting girls’ hair, pushing over old ladies, and the like. However, Carter and I had a strong relationship. I was always praised for “getting through to him” and we often had lengthy chats about life after secondary school. It was my second year as a teacher when he left and I genuinely thought I’d made a difference.
Five years later, Carter’s face is on the news. He’d mown down two teenage girls – on purpose – as they walked home from a party. He drove over them, then rounded a roundabout to drive over them again.
Nothing compared to the horror I felt alongside the impotent feeling left inside me – I thought I’d perhaps got through to him in some way, but clearly I hadn’t. I felt like I could have done, should have done more to help him seek the good inside himself in those four hours a week we spent together. I was naive.
I’m no longer so arrogant as to believe that my words can change lives, but it hasn’t stopped me trying.
As a teacher, life can be tough. You are but a flicker in the long night of these students’ lives and you strive to make a difference, but at times like that – when you realise you made none – that really hurts.
In grade school I sat next to this guy named George. Super quiet kid, and occasionally I would go over his house after school. His mom would occasionally be our substitute teacher.
Fast forward to when I am in college and go to pick up a NY Post in the morning. I see the headline “THREE STRIKES, SHE’S OUT … KID BEATS MOM TO DEATH WITH BASEBALL BAT”. And there was a photo of George and his mom. It was big news in NY for a brief period, and last I heard he was sent to jail.
Fast forward a few years later and I am working in Manhattan and I literally bump right into him on the subway platform. Apparently he got out after a few years. It was seriously the most awkward small talk I ever made with someone in my life.