Jessica Ridgeway's Murder Should Not Change the Way We Live

Jessica RidgewayThe Jessica Ridgeway case has shaken parents across the nation. But nowhere more than in her quiet, suburban town of Westminster, Colorado, where the 10-year-old disappeared on her walk to school and was found days later, her body "not intact."

It's a terrifying story made perhaps even more terrifying by where it happened. People move to the suburbs for safety. They move to raise their kids away from the danger and noise of the city. Things like this aren't "supposed" to happen in places like Westminster. It's the reason more than 2,000 people came to Ridgeway's memorial to mourn her. This could be anyone's daughter.

And yet, that sense of security was always false. There really is no town, no place that is safe. The truth is, that's always been the reality.

As a mom, it makes perfect sense to me that some people are looking for that mythical place where no one will harm our kids and they can be free outside to do what they want. We imagine that 50 years ago, it was a safer time when things like this didn't happen.

Stories like this terrify us. But the fact is, there have always been evil and random, scary acts like this. There have always been killers who lurk in seemingly innocuous places and little girls who tragically disappear. It's scary, but it's also freeing in some ways, too.

As a mom, the thought of anything happening to my kid is beyond awful, but knowing that there is very little I can change or alter about my lifestyle to avoid it somehow makes it feel less overwhelming.

Ridgeway's parents didn't do anything wrong. Her community isn't any more "unsafe" than anywhere else. It was a horrifying act committed by a sick person who is still at large.

These are scary facts. But there is no larger lesson to learn or anything we need to change about our lifestyles because of it. Sick people have always walked among us, sometimes even in seemingly "safe" places.

Ridgeway's death is a senseless, senseless tragedy and trying to make sense of it or learn "lessons" from it will only make our heads spin. The only lesson here is that evil is alive and well and it lives everywhere.

Do you plan to change anything because of this case?


Image via Westminster Police



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fave82 fave82

It doesn't change the way I live.. more like, confirms it. My daughter will not be walking anywhere alone or roaming the neighborhood without supervision. I wasn't allowed to, and she won't be either. It's not about raising kids in a bubble either, it's about learning independence safely and in due time.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

She's 10 years old (a minor) she shouldn't have been walking anywhere by herself. I think things would have turned out differently had she been walking in a group, but I can't confirm that. It's so unfortunate that this turned out this way, and I hope that she gets the justice she deserves. 

jalaz77 jalaz77

No not here. However when my kids do start walking home it will be with a group of kids, not alone. There are lots of 10+ year olds that walk home alone in our neighborhood and there is nothing wrong with that. It's a busy neighborhood and school is 8 minutes away walking distance. It is unfortunate this happened and it does in fact make that area less safe.

Christina Mancuso-Henry

Her parents DID do something wrong, though - They let Jessica, a 10 year old child, walk to school alone. Many parents do this, so they were not alone, but every single one of them put their children at risk of abduction and murder. There is no excuse for not making sure your child gets to and from school fully supervised. They could have drove her to school, had someone else drive her to school or put her on a school bus.  Jessica's fate was a preventable tragedy that would not have happened had her parents been more responsible. This story has nothing to do with safe/unsafe neighborhoods, it has to do with parents not doing their job properly and their children suffer the consequences!

Teres... Teresa6190

Christina Mancuso-Henry said it all.

Chalon King

Nope, I will allow my seven year old to walk to the store by herself. I am not going to coddle them or worry about a slight chance something would happen. I wandered the desert from the time I was 5 and I want my kids to do the same. I want them to be able to handle life and not freak out if they are alone or in trouble. Plus all the girls I went to school with that had over zealous parents totally turned out to be whores with no decision making skills and had popped out a baby by 23. Now that scares me more then a kid being abducted. Knowing I raised a child that cannot fend themselves or goes buck wild as soon as they get away from mommy or daddy. Oh and worse than that...calling your parents for advice after 18! You are an adult grow the fuck up.

Maria Rosado

Chalon, So you prefer your kid to be more independent by risking their safety? parents do for the sake of having their small kids..yes small kids cause that's what they are, be targets for sickos and pedophiles. You see, this is exactly the kind of parental attitude that sickos want..yup. Keep giving them your kids to them. Unbelievable.

nonmember avatar NatalieSandoval

Whoever blames Jessica's parents for her death is a complete idoit. Her parents are stricken with enough grief and need not face any blame at the hands of ignorant people. Just because you "make sure" your child gets to school safe doesn't mean that he or she wont get shot by a crazed maniac or abducted from the school grounds. With this being said, think before you speak Christina M. H.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

Natalie, just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they are a "complete idiot". One job that parents are required to do, is to keep your child safe.

nonmember avatar Desiree

The role of parents are to protect and guide their children through all of life's challenges. I think that there needs to be a healthy balance between protecting and guiding. If we swing the pendulum too far to the protecting side, the children are sheltered and rarely learn how to properly manage. However, if we act without an intent of protection with our children, then there is no protection and the children are left vulnerable and the outcome is the same - they rarely learn how to manage. Now, walking out that balance is the tricky part. There are no hard fast rules about what is protecting your child and what is guiding your child. What happened to Jessica and her family could have / might also happen to yours! We have to be determined parents. We cant shelter our children, but we also cant let go of all the reins either. Its a balance. Don't live in fear. Make decisions based off of assessing the risks and benefits. Lets teach our children. Lets equipped them to defend themselves. That doesn't mean that at age 10 they are abel to defend themselves, but it does mean that they have the knowledge and when they turn into teenagers and young adults they will be required to know how to defend themselves. Lastly, don't blame Jessica's parents

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