the guy you heard about on the news, the one you heard about who hit those protestors with his car, the one who will forever be marked as a terrorist and a murderer, he went to my high school.

I’m at a loss for words yet here I am, attempting to compile the way I feel about what I discovered tonight. I can distinctly remember seeing him at school, I remember speaking to him in passing. I do not remember a single detail of any conversation, other than thinking that he occupied the “gentle giant,” role in my mind. I seem to remember him being a very quiet guy who, when spoken to, was kind and shy. The issue with this description I’m jumbling together from terrible memory is that I do not know any of it for sure. This is a problem.

I am not under the train of thought that you should know the ins and outs of everyone in your school, that’s not what I’m saying.

What I AM saying is that I don’t think I can remember one instance where I saw him with someone else, where I saw him laughing with friends, or where I saw him even talking to people. The only (albeit faded) memories I have of him are seeing him alone and I did nothing to fix that.

I know what you could be thinking, that I’m making such a senseless act by someone I vaguely know about myself and how I feel about it. I don’t want to come off that way. What I’m trying to explain is the inescapable thought I’ve been fighting for the last several hours, that maybe had I been a better friend, or even a friend at all, maybe things would have happened differently or not happened at all. Maybe had I taken a step outside my own circle of friends and made a friend out of the seemingly lonely, quiet kid I saw in the hallways, maybe he wouldn’t have killed that person; Maybe he wouldn’t have driven his car with the intent of maiming civilians; Maybe he’d be in a better place.

I know this isn’t fair to lay on myself, I know this is going to resonate heavily with some readers. I want everyone reading this to take ONE thing away from this post, please open your eyes. I promise you do not know what’s going on in someone else’s life. I promise you can’t see past the exterior they’re fronting, no matter how hard you try from afar. I promise there is no better way to change the world around you than to be a friend to everyone God has placed around you.

I had a chance to change this kid’s life.
I had a chance save his life.
I had a chance to save other people’s lives.
I missed my shot.

Will you miss yours?

– T

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8 thoughts on “i missed it.

  1. There’s no way you could’ve known what this kid would do in the future.

    But I do think you should ALWAYS strive to be a good, kind and selfless person.

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  2. There’s nothing wrong with your post. We can all recollect someone who we feel we should have reached out to. Thank you for reminding everyone that not everything is the way you visualize it

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  3. My son knew James. I don’t think there was anything that you could have done to make what happened yesterday any different. James was full of bitter feelings towards “inferior” races a few years ago and I’m certain that those feelings didn’t go away. I think the person that you might have categorized as a “gentle giant” was not that at all. Be kind to yourself.

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  4. Thank you for your heartfelt reminder to reach out to others. We seem to read about people people like your classmate again, and again, and again. We usually get to know them after an event like Columbine or some unspeakable tragedy! As a teacher, I saw this type of lonely existence begin in very early grades Your blog is a good reminder that we all need to reach out to others and hopefully make a difference. While there was no way you could have known what your classmate would do in the future, your experience has allowed you to reach out to the world and make a difference! Thank you for sharing and know that you have made a difference!

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  5. I think we could all make a difference to the hate in this world. Kindness tends to go a long ways when extended to someone/anyone. No one is better than anyone else. We all share responsibility to make this world a better place for all. Let us all strive to do better. The media could help a lot by not playing into all the hate.

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