He's Not Going To Graduate
By all accounts he was a good student. He was a nice kid. But he's not going to graduate high school. He's dead.
If you've read the news about the latest school shooting (although who knows if by the time I finish writing this and publish it if there will be another...or more), you know the name Kendrick Castillo. He's being called a hero and this 18 year-old (only 4 years older than my own son) died when he was shot tackling the gunman.
I've heard his parents are proud of his actions. I've also heard his father say that he wished he'd run away. Can you blame him? Their only child is dead. I cannot imagine the pain they are in. I cannot ALLOW myself to imagine it. He died a "heroic" death, but he's DEAD. HE IS DEAD. He was just days away from graduation and now he's dead.
He did the "right" thing. His actions certainly saved others’ lives. But he's DEAD. DEAD before he even had the chance to graduate and get that piece of paper that celebrates all the hard work he had done for year.
Of course, in a day or two, the name Kendrick Castillo will disappear from our memory. This boy (I know, he was legally an adult, but he was still a boy in my mind; he hadn't even graduated yet) will be forgotten by the general public. And sadly, within a couple of months or weeks or even days (!) his name will be replaced by someone else who will die trying to do the right thing.
Kendrick Castillo is DEAD.
When will WE do the right thing? When will WE make changes to gun laws? When will WE address the mental health crisis in our world? When will WE no longer accept that children are dying in schools? When will WE demand that this stop?
Maybe it will stop when WE START caring about this. ALL OF US. When we ALL say no more and start working TOGETHER. When we are courageous enough to talk to each other and work with each other and find some answers. When we drop the hatred and yelling and start TALKING. When we START to care...about our children, about our neighbors, about people we don't even know.
Kendrick Castillo is dead. I won't forget his name. Will you?