Saturday, August 16, 2008

21: Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich

This is the inside story of six M.I.T. students who took Vegas for millions. I reserved this book because it was recommended on my library's website as a great read. It was floating around my car, and my husband found it on the way home from a visit with family. He started to read it and the book became the first book that I have ever seen my husband read for pleasure. It was a quick read for him since he enjoys gambling and Vegas. I was impressed that the book held his attention even after finding out that the movie had just come out on DVD.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Two Senseless Acts of Violence

Back in May one of my friends, her family, and neighbors were having a cookout/party on a Friday night. They were outside and it was about 10pm when two boys showed up in the yard and said that the group was making too much noise. My friend's husband apologized and as one of the boys left on his own, led the other boy from the yard while promising to keep the noise down. About 10 minutes later the boys came back armed with a baseball bat and a golf club. One of them asked who touched my brother and when my friend's husband came forward, he began to beat the husband on the head with the baseball bat. The other beat the man with the golf club and when they were done, they ran away. The boys were chased, caught, and held until the police got there.

My friend's husband was taken to the hospital by ambulance and had to have brain surgery. He will have to take anti-seizure medicine for the rest of his life and although he has some minor physical issues, he is back to work.

When this happened, I thought to myself, who has the right to do that to another human being? How does making too much noise warrant a beating on the head with a bat? These boys are 17 and 18 years old, and why are you ruining your life over something so minor? I had a really hard time with this event because I know the guy and I know the type of person that he is. I couldn't believe that this had happened to my friend's family, and she lives not too far away from me.

Well, last weekend I went to the funeral of one of my parents from when I taught. She was a major presence in our school because she was PTO president and a parent consultant. Last year when I left teaching, she was 8 months pregnant and when she came in to ask who needed help packing up, the office sent her to my room. She spent the whole day in my room, and I really appreciated the help. I had her son the year before, and she was a very involved parent in her children's education.

The weekend before she passed away, her family was having trouble with their neighbor who did not like her children riding their bikes over his lawn. When asked to come out and talk to an adult about the situation, the neighbor came out with his gun. He shot up the family car as the family hid behind it, and somehow the mother got shot in the neck. She was unresponsive when the paramedics got there and never regained consciousness. Her organs were donated, and she was taken off life support a few days later. She was a mother of four and 29 years old. (The man who shot her had a standoff with police and then committed suicide.)

When this second event happened, it was surreal to me because you always hear about people and tragedies that happen on the news; you just never think that you will know someone that the news is talking about. But, I did not have as hard of a time dealing with this event as I did when my friend's husband was beaten. Some of my friends that I taught with were in disbelief and shocked that this had happened to such a wonderful person. I was somewhat numb to the event, I think, because all the feeling that my friends were experiencing with this mom's death, I had felt when my friend's husband was beaten.

C C-B, you were taken too soon, may you rest in peace.