The 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