Every community has its secrets––and its tragedies.
"A couple years ago someone was backing out of their driveway..."
A couple years ago someone was backing out of their driveway and ran over the neighbor's 2 year old, killing the child. This horrible tragedy was almost overshadowed by the bitter divide the town had over who was to blame, the driver for not looking or the child's parents for not supervising.
It was becoming bad, until the local paper did a piece about car blind spots. They took a Ford Explorer and had pictures from the driver's seat of the rear and side mirrors. Then a picture from further away where you could see the SIXTY (60) kindergarteners that were sitting on the ground behind the car, invisible to the driver. Things calmed down after that.
"There was a hunting accident..."
There was a hunting accident that occurred in my township when I was a kid. This boy and his dad (and some others, I think his uncle and a few of his dad's friends) went hunting, the kid's gun misfired, and his dad wound up dead. It was really f---ed up, and I still feel for that guy. After he graduated, he moved out of town and I don't even blame him.
"A boy I grew up with named Tommy..."
A boy I grew up with named Tommy was found dead in his house with his video game paused, stabbed dozens of times. His family's housekeeper was also killed.
For five years there were no leads and no indication of a motive. Then a married couple was killed in a similar manner and investigators realized there was a connection. The husband had worked with Tommy's parents at a hospital and they'd fired a man named Anthony Garcia years ago. He ended up committing the four murders as an act of revenge.
"The tornado in 2011."
The tornado in 2011. The high-school had its graduation that day, and only a little while later, it killed families and new graduates. One kid was sucked out of his car's sunroof. Then, on top of everything, we all held out hope that we would find this woman's baby. We prayed and somehow convinced ourselves that for sure there'd be a miracle, but the baby was found floating in a pond on the other side of town. It was hard for everyone. I remember the smell of fire and rain as I stood on my grandma's porch and stared at how much nothing there was. The tornado killed over 100 people. We still haven't recovered as a town - there are memorials everywhere, we all talk about it every day.
"It ended up..."Giphy
A guy that graduated 3 years ahead of me went hiking with his girlfriend (some mountain in South America). On the hike up the girlfriend walked to close to the edge of a cliff , the earth gave way and she fell off the cliff. The boyfriend could see her at the bottom still moving but could not get down to her, so in a panic ran to get help. He reached the ranger station and he led the rescue team back up the mountain. It ended up he forgot how to get back to the spot the girlfriend fell and it took multiple hours for them to find her. By the time they did she had died. The worst part was the boyfriend had planned this trip as a surprise proposal and had the ring in his pocket ready to propose at the summit.
"A bunch of high school kids got some booze..."
A bunch of high school kids got some booze and stole their parents' boat. One kid realized that his girlfriend was cheating on him with another guy and proceeded to throw the dude into the water and run him over. Happened a while ago, but my town is suuuuuper strict with underage drinking ever since
"7 years ago, it was raining super hard..."
7 years ago, it was raining super hard, and visibility was very low.
Around 3 in the afternoon a 4 year old little girl was struck by a car and killed. She was supposed to be watched by her grandmother, but old grandma was too busy ignoring her grandchild by locking herself in her room, she had no idea what happened until the police were banging on her front door.
Apparently, she neglected the little girl every time she would babysit, and very rarely supervise her outside, even though her house is right by a busy street. She went to prison.
I was neighbors with the family who lost the little girl, it was heartbreaking hearing the mother scream in pure sorrow when the police told her what happened.
That little girl would be 11 now.
"After a few years, it started to take off..."
When I was in High School, our school had started doing those "Project Proms" things, where they'd rent out a fitness club and bring the students there so they weren't going to parties getting drunk.
After a few years, it started to take off, and they were getting good attendance. One year, a girl was in the hot tub at the club, dunked herself underwater. Her leg got caught on the filter drain, and the suction kept her underwater, drowning her.
Big deal obviously because a student died. It wasn't lost on anybody that these things were being held to keep students safe.
"So he and his buddies picked up their farming tools..."
An entire orphanage was slaughtered during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. It has been a long time since I was in the hometown (and I have only spoken about it with some elderly neighbors when I was ten)...but they've told me that when the Republicans took control of Sevilla (and sparked multiple uprisings across the region), a farmer somehow got the idea that a local orphanage was full of children of 'Communist Reds' and that they had to be wiped out while they were still 'maggots'.
So he and his buddies picked up their farming tools, made their way into town and killed all of the kids (there were a couple of nuns who tried to stop them. They wound up also killed). So many people were horrified when it happened (especially since it was a small town. Everybody knew everyone, so I could only imagine what it must've been like to see people like that covered in blood). When Franco took control--those farmers got off without a single arrest.
The farmer who started the killing lived well (while bragging that no one could touch him), up until 1976 when it was discovered that Franco had died (and we entered a democratic system instead of continuing with the old fascist one). That was when he started to live his life in fear (and by the time I was ten years old in the 90s, he was still trying to call the authorities and write letters about his 'situation', and would tell anyone who looked sympathetic that 'people were out to get him' and that he 'desperately' needed a policeman or a bodyguard to stay with him at home. Assh*le probably lived the end of his days terrified that someone was going to kill him for what he did.
"Some girl from one of the middle schools..."
Some girl from one of the middle schools in our town (we had two) killed herself. The middle school she went to was filled with people who would harass her and faculty that never cared or did anything to help.
Also had a teenage girl who took lsd and was driving, because apparently none of her friends thought that was a bad idea, and wrapped her car around a tree.
"My entire town..."
My entire town (it's small and surrounded by forests) was consumed by a massive wildfire a few years ago. The entire town had to be evacuated. Nobody died but entire neighborhoods were destroyed and thousands were permanently displaced. The other nearby towns were overcrowded with evacuees and lots of people ran out of gas on the highway to the nearest big city. We're still rebuilding in some spots today.
"There were a few deaths in my district recently..."
There were a few deaths in my district recently, but this one affected me most. Many years before the other incidents, my elementary school art teacher died of an unexpected heart attack. She left behind two teenagers and her husband. She was so loved by everyone in the school. I think that was the first time I saw a teacher cry. A few lessons before she died, I told her she was the best art teacher in the whole world. She was the sweetest person I've ever met, and I still cry about it sometimes. I'll never forget you Mrs. Newfield, rest in peace.
"Last class of the day..."
Last class of the day and the announcements come on. Principal announces a kid in my grade has died. Everyone hears the name and their jaws drop open. We don't live in a dangerous area at all and this kid had a great reputation. I didn't really know him personally, but I knew him as a classmate. On the friend group chat and everyone is freaking out when some says that the whole family is gone. His dad and his little sister, their mom is devestated. Here's what happened:
Both of them were at their dad's house (who apparently had a drinking problem) and he waited until they were both asleep. Then, he shot both kids in their rooms in their sleep and then shot himself. Kids didn't come to school so their mother was called. She freaked out and tried calling the dad's house, but then ended up calling the cops. They found all of them.
This happened last September and honestly, I still don't really know what to think of it.
"In 2017 cyclone Debbie..."
In 2017 cyclone Debbie dumped an unprecedented amount of rain on our region. Our town has a major river running through it. The flood breached the levies and around 7 people in the region died, houses decimated ect.
The tragedy that occurred a few days later still haunts me. A mother and her three children were driving home, the road they were on had been reopened but was still slick with flood mud. The car slid into the river and one child escaped, the rest passed away. The father was at work and suddenly he went from a father of a family of 5 to just him and his daughter. Absolutely heartbreaking.
A man killed his girlfriend a couple houses down from my house. Happened earlier this year, I'm pretty sure the man was an abusive drunk and he hit her so hard that she died.
"Earlier this year..."
Earlier this year two girls from my high school were hit by a car while crossing the street to go to school. The driver of the car was actually a teacher from the same school. I witnessed the whole thing happen while getting dropped off. One of the girls was able to recover in a few days, while the other was in a medically induced coma for several months. She was given a 10 % chance of waking up, and just last month she did. She is in rehab now. I never knew the girls, but word around the school is that they are great people. I hope all goes well in their recovery. The teacher still works at the school btw.
"We've had a few."
We've had a few. Our most major was back in 2015/16. We'll call him MJ. Mj. was a junior at our high school and was adored by everybody. My brother used to do soccer with him back in travel so he was a close friend. He had done high school football and was pointing that towards his career. We have this big park with base ball fields, tracks, playgrounds, and a man made pond. Next to that pond was a volleyball court which meant the balls would fall into the pond a lot. Many people swam in to get the balls and no incidents ever happened when swimming in it even though you weren't aloud to. One morning, a few friends bet MJ to swim across the whole thing (about a football field length) for some money. He didn't think much of it, but also wasn't a strong swimmer. So he jumped in and started swimming across this pond. Soon enough pumps started going through to drain excess water in the pond from rain. This caused current to occur and he went under. The police were called in a matter of minutes and the other friends went in after him. Police came in 3 minutes time and went on a search for him. He was found dead soon after. This hit our town hard and we made a memorial for him. A few other incidents that have occurred was: a soccer friend, who's father was shot and robbed, a drowning of a four year old, a suicide of a man who jumped off a cell tower, and a girl who was kidnapped after meeting a guy online. (She is safe now but was really scary).
There was a serial killer in my area. One day he just snapped and burned his house down with his wife in it. Before hiding in the woods for several days, he killed a couple in their car. He went missing for several weeks and he was found in the woods in our district. They showcased his arrest on the news and our school stopped classes briefly to watch it on the projector.
"One of my best friends..."
One of my best friends when I was about seven had an unscrupulous exterminator treat his home for mice. The exterminator's methods ended up outright killing two of my friend's sisters. The house was empty for a long time after that; my friend moved out, and everyone talked about the incident in hushed voices for years.
Minimum wage is often paid by some of the most physically and emotionally intensive work—service industry jobs. Having to work in a hot kitchen all day or deal with irate customers while being paid less than you need to survive is not exactly the best situation to be in.