Learning to feel safe again after a hometown tragedy

After terrible news in her small hometown, Jennifer reflects on the reasons why she left the city for a quiet life in the country.

Photo by Vpickering via Flickr.

Gillian woke up at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and, after a cuddle, she fell back asleep. On the other hand, I was wide awake and decided the check my Twitter stream. Normally at 4:00 a.m. it’s full of scheduled tweets promoting blogs and social media articles, but one tweet made my stomach turn.

@PboroExaminer: Emergency crews are responding to reports of a possible stabbing early Saturday morning in Bobcaygeon.

In my quiet hometown, a young man was stabbed and died from his injuries. A tweet early Sunday evening reported that two 16 year olds were charged with his death.

(Understandably, there is a court-ordered publication ban on this case.)

Stuff like this just doesn’t happen in my town. In my town, people hold fundraisers for families battling cancer, newspapers publish invitations to 65th wedding anniversary tea parties and everyone in town pitches in to open a medical clinic so folks don’t have to drive an hour to the nearest hospital emergency room when they need help. For all of these reasons and too many more to list, we left our life in suburban Winnipeg to raise our young children here. We left behind schools where seventh graders dealt drugs in a city that is sadly known for its inhospitable winter temperatures and its designation as Canada’s murder capital.

I’d be lying if I said that my perception of my town hasn’t changed — it has. I feel sick and scared, but mostly sad. I feel sad for all of the families involved and for my friends and neighbours who I’m sure are holding their children tighter tonight. Because, like me, they also can’t make sense out of what happened or how life in my wee cottage country town will go on. Most of us raise families or retire here because of how safe our town is. Realistically, our town isn’t any less safe, even though after years of not locking our doors, they will indeed be locked tonight.

Take care of each other, friends.

Photo by Vpickering via Flickr.

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