With Jessica Ridgeway’s killer still at large, I find it nearly impossible to let down my guard; and an hour doesn’t pass without me thinking about the tragic ending to her life, praying for her family and for her killer to be found.
Although the police have increased security around all of the local schools and people have rallied to help in the search for suspects; there is still an underlying fear permeating the community. Schools have sent home safety guidelines, encouraging parents to talk with their kids about what happened to Jessica. It’s a hard conversation to have because, as a parent, you don’t want your children to live in fear; but you also don’t want them to be careless. You want them to be aware and cautious, but not paranoid. It’s a fine line, one I find myself struggling to walk.
Without question, this tragedy has changed our daily lives. My children used to ride their bikes to and from school; they don’t anymore. They used to ride their scooters through the neighborhood, go to the park with friends or play in the cul-de-sac; they don’t anymore. Instead, they play inside or in the back yard, where I can keep a constant, watchful eye. Every parent warns their kids of stranger-danger, but when a child is abducted and brutally murdered this close to home, a natural heightened awareness and paranoia ensues. When it comes to a killer at large, the risk (albeit statistically improbable), associated with letting my kids walk to school or play alone is one I’m not willing to take; especially when criminal experts are stating that Jessica’s killer must be found quickly because he will kill again.
Criminal profilers have said they suspect this person is a professional killer and is currently searching for his next victim.
As a mom, I’m not paranoid… I’m scared to death. I don’t go through a day without shedding tears over Jessica; and feeling rage for the injustice of what occurred. I wish I was a mob boss like Angel in the Just Call Me Angel series and I could order my men to find the killer and take care of him once and for all; so no parents and children would need to live in fear. I’d have him placed in concrete boots and made to swim with the fishes.
The world can be a very ugly place, and it is often difficult to see the goodness through the despair; but the goodness is still there. We just have to find it and focus on it.
This tragedy has made me hug my kids more, smother them in kisses, tell them more frequently how much I love them, be more attentive and ultimately realize how thankful I am for every moment with them. It’s made me cherish our time, because there is nothing more precious than our time together.