Sunday, June 24, 2007

Something To Remember

May, 1999. My husband and I had been married about a month. We were coming home from church, heading down Sheridan Road, just past where St. Catharine's Hospital used to be. We were chatting away, and not really worried about anything in particular. And then something impacted our lives that changed us forever.

I'll start at the beginning of the story as I know it. Two boys, ages 14, were riding on the sidewalk past St. Catharine's. They weren't doing anyone any harm, they were just enjoying being outside on their bikes. A man drove by in his car, and instead of passing them without so much as a glance, decided that it would be a good day to run them over. He hit the first boy, sending him flying and landing on the grass next to the road. He hit the second boy, and drug him about 15 feet down the road. The bike stayed attached longer, maybe closer to a mile. The boys were about 10 yards or so apart. I don't remember exactly.

My husband and I came upon the scene presumably moments after it had happened. There was a crowd surrounding the second boy. We stopped a little ways before getting to them, and decided to get out and help. That was when we discovered the first boy. No one had even noticed him. At first, he was not conscious. After a few moments, he woke up. We sat with him until the ambulance came, which seemed to take forever. He wanted to find his friend, and he couldn't understand why he hurt so much. He was covered in cuts and bruises, his bike tangled in his legs. I still cry when I think about it, and it was almost 10 years ago.

The man responsible, one James Langenbach, was charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Child Abuse Intentionally Causing Great Bodily Harm, and Hit and Run Involving Great Bodily Harm. All felonies, in varying degrees. 176 years in prison, last I heard. I don't know if he's managed to get an appeal of any kind.

As I was looking over the articles today, which I try to do once a year, I realized that the man who did this, was 28 at the time of the incident. I am 28 right now, and it is incomprehensible to me to even consider doing something so horrific, and all because those boys had skin that was darker than his. It just makes me ill.

This is something that I will never forget. I cannot get the images of those boys out of my head. I cannot forget the name of the man who did this to them. When my children are old enough, I will tell them. I want them to know that there are things in this world that are not right, and that it is up to them to follow God's command to love one another and to love God, so that they never do anything like this to someone else. It may not be much, but it will be enough for me to know that I have taught them love, not hate.


Amy T said...

Very good post! What a horrific thing to happen. Things like that make no sense to me other than to know that it is a fallen world and things like that do happen. But you are taking that awful event and making good of it. Good for you. (I'm Aggiemom on MOG)

Mama's Moon said...

I will never understand how/why anybody would so such horrible things as this. My heart breaks each time I realize that there is so much hate and ugliness in the world -- and it scares me to think that one day the little ones I try so hard to raise correctly and protect will be out in that world encountering the very same ugly and hateful people.

Erin said...

I'm so sorry you had to witness something like that, but I am grateful that you posted it. I'm going to add that man to my prayer list today and hopefully we can meet him on the other side!

MommaBlogger said...

That was almost ten years ago, so who knows where he is today. I am still amazed that anyone can have such low regard for life to be capable of something so awful.

In many ways, I am thankful that I was able to be there. It taught me a few things that I wouldn't have learned without the experience. While I wish it had never happened, things like this do happen regularly. And to be allowed to be a small part of it, I know that God trusted me in that situation to be able to be there for that boy.