Too Soon

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A 13-year-old girl lost her life yesterday because a man with the temperament of a rabies-inflicted dog lost his cool over his own stupid mistake.

After 24-year-old Richard Calderon hit the car of Alexis Wiley’s mother and drove off, Waley’s mother – a police officer at Texas Southern University – drove after him hoping to get his plates.

That’s when Calderon pulled his gun out and immediately started shooting.

A bullet went through the back of Alexis’ head and went straight through her eye.

Her mother frantically called 911 and waited for ambulances to show.

While they were able to piece together her eye and put her on life support that nite, the following morning she died.

Among the students who left campus and subsequently went home was my 11-year-old niece.

If it were me at her age dealing with this I wouldn’t be as worried. Without soiling this blog with another sob story about my upbringing, I’ll just say I grew up a lot faster than my niece did.

I always smiled when I thought about how different she grew up from me. When I think of her I think of nothing but purity. She is my angel and that’s all there is to it. I hate the fact while she’s still going to be a much happier child than most, this experience will never leave her.

When my mom told me what happened I knew that innocence was gone. No matter how many curse words she didn’t say, the Disney shows that she watched religiously, or the naïveté you could always hear in her voice, Richard Calderon’s bullet has altered the way she looks at the world.

It happens to us all, but I didn’t want it to happen to her now.

I am not good with dealing with tragedy. When I called my mom in the middle of the night to tell her someone put a gun in my face, I said it with no emotion and simply told her where she could find all of the bills I left back at home so I could cancel my credit cards.

When my grandfather cried two weeks before graduation, I called the one I still adore most and talked about everything but. I did cry while speaking at the funeral, and I hated myself a little for it afterwards. When my grandmother died six months to the day later, I focused on another emotion – anger – towards someone else and tried not to focus on it.

And then it really hit me and the only way I really managed was by writing about it.

But I had to call my niece yesterday. We’re close – so close that I look to her like she’s my daughter.

Every time I try to comfort someone I feel like a bumbling idiot.

I worry that yesterday was no different.

I talked to my niece as many times as I could yesterday and I almost slipped and cried on the phone (a quality I hate) while speaking to her.

I found out that my niece saw the girl a few hours before she was shot. They ran into each other while at McDonalds. Alexis waved at my niece. My niece’s younger sister loved her big sister’s friend. So much that she would always go up and play with her.

The first time I spoke with my niece she thought her friend was alive. She was told that she was in a coma.

I asked her if she had prayed for her friend yet. Then I told her that it’s OK to cry (yes, I hate it, but not for everyone else — we all have our double standards) and that if nothing else she ought to be alone and talk to God. Say how you feel, speak on behalf of your friend.

I told her I would call her back. I couldn’t wait so I called back about 15 minutes later. I had to say I hope I didn’t make her feel worse.

A couple of hours ago she called me back and let me know about her friend. I could hear the hurt in her voice and it made me feel so small. I just wanted to hug her.

My heart actually jumped when she told me that her friends from other schools had called to check on her. Because my niece and Alexis share the same name, a few of them worried that it was my niece who had been killed.

I know that unfortunately these sort of senseless tragedies happen more times than we’d like. And as sad as I am now for my niece I know that ultimately she’ll be better.

Her friend isn’t so lucky and it irritates the shit out of me how stupid, selfish, and pathetic some people are.

Why would you shoot at a car because they wanted you to pay for your mistakes?

Why are these sorts of people consistently allowed to have access to guns?

Why are so many evil pieces of shit like Richard Calderon forcing children to grow up too fast?

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