I debated writing about this. I wasn’t sure if I could really face my true feelings about the event. But I decided that it was important. On December 27, 2011 a 40-year-old woman was shot and killed outside McDonald’s near Mainstreet, in Parker, Colorado. She was pregnant and her other children were inside. This wasn’t a random shooting, she was shot by her ex-husband, who then left the scene and killed himself.
The boys and I have a connection to the woman who was shot – her boyfriend was one of our Karate Instructors. He is a sweet and gentle person, and if I remember correctly a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have no doubts that he could defend himself physically. But there is no defense for a gun. And of course he wasn’t there. If he had been, I would imagine that he would have gotten shot too.
This shooting has brought back memories of another incident that happened in 2005. Again, the boys and I had connections to the victims. The girls were students at the same school as David: Beulah Park Elementary School in Zion, Illinois. The two girls that were beaten and stabbed to death were found in Beulah Park about 3 blocks from the school. As the girls were missing or immediately after they were found, the school went on lockdown. David didn’t know the girls; Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias were third graders and David was in first. Laura’s father was the one who discovered the bodies. He was arrested and charged with their murders. According to police, he admitted to stabbing them after he confronted Laura about stealing money from her mother and going to the park when she was grounded. I know, at the time, the community was relieved: this wasn’t an act of random violence, the girls were killed by someone they knew.
There are no seeming similarities between the two incidents. However, in my mind there are. Two acts of violence in which people were killed. The girls were 8 and 9 years old. They hadn’t begun to really live their lives. They were innocent, little girls. At the time, David was 7 and Michael was 5. Two little boys who learned of the deaths of Laura and Krystal and didn’t want to go to Beulah Park anymore. They didn’t even want me to drive past it.
The woman in Parker, Donna Royer, was pregnant. From what I have read about Donna, she was a kind person who worked mostly with Cancer Patients. Her daughters are 11 and 13, the same ages as my boys. These two young girls are now without both their parents. Their father, it seems, was unstable. Their mother, most likely, was their world; their rock. And now they will have to manage without her.
This hit me hard in a place I don’t really want to think about. Chris’ cancer, well, you get the picture. And that part sucks. But the part that has hit me the hardest, is that the shooting of Donna Royer shattered my naivety that we would be untouched by violence in our little community. The fact that it was her ex-husband doesn’t comfort me in the least.