My Name is Sarah

MY NAME IS SARAH. I am a quilt designer and the sewcial director of Sarah's Sewcial Lounge. I also have a business called Down Right Charming. I sell my quilts mostly on etsy and I make pillowcases to donate to patients in the hospital in memory of my friend Kristen Kirton. I am a young adult living with Down syndrome. I hope you enjoy reading about my life journey.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Playing with Fire

by Joyce...this playground situation has been wracking havoc with my thought process. I just could not wrap my arms around why someone would do this. How could a human beating heart wish to take away a playground designed for all children with complete accessibility. A play area built with love by and for citizens of our community. When the police released the snippet of information that they were looking for two twenty somethings, my heart sunk further. Our blog readers were as outraged by that notion as I was.

The next day I saw the video from the surveillance cameras at the park. The two twenty somethings were love birds. It was obvious. They were simply taking a walk in the park, arm in arm, holding hands on a peaceful fall night.

Then three teens followed on the tape...wearing hoodies, low riders, and on skateboards. They looked suspicious. Simply by their look and their attire. But not so fast. My son wears hoodies. Often has his pants sagging. Even tools around on a skate board from time to time. Does that make him guilty of arson? Today we know more. A press conference was held. It was the teens. They confessed and with their families turned themselves in. They claim they had no intention of burning the park down. They found a used flare and lite it. They placed it on the ground. Not realizing the ground was entirely covered with recycled rubber. Sounds like a bull story. As saddened as I am about the playground being a pile of ashes, I believe them.

I seem to be in the minority at the moment. The comment sections on local newspaper and television websites are filled with hatred toward these three young teens. Nasty, vile and venomous comments are being written by adults toward three 13 year olds. I wonder if any of these commenter's were ever thirteen? Can they not remember doing something stupid as a teen. A curiosity moment with fire crackers perhaps? This clearly was not a malicious act. The teens did not plot out a scheme to purposely burn down a playground.

I am not saying these kids should not be punished. They indeed should. I do believe they should be made to help clean up the mess. They and their families should be there as the community comes together to rebuild the structure. I think they should also go around to the junior high schools in the area and help teach their peers that it is never a good idea to play with fire. I suggest we all use this experience to reach out. To help others understand from the mistakes. Especially with our own children.

On Saturday, the community held a rally. It is heartwarming to see the response...


Molly said...

Joyce, I am thinking of covering this story for Care2 (don't know if you've heard of it) could you email me at nobabynoblog at gmail dot com. I really want to spread the story of this amazing playground and the community response. I'm not looking to vilify the teens, but I am hoping that more press will mean a quicker rebuild for you guys!

Rochelle said...

Totally makes sense now! I am sure they didn't MEAN to do it. We were all teenagers once and did silly stuff without thinking of the consequences. Hope their punishment serves the purpose and they are forever changed to think before they act again.

Mary said...

I will pray for the three teens and their families. I hope the community shows a bit of understanding and forgiveness. Yes, it is tragic and I'm sure everyone is heartbroken. These boys are only 13 and must live with the consequences.

Adelaide Dupont said...

I remember the rallying around Matt last year and I think the 13-year-olds concerned deserve the same chance to be able to prove themselves to the community.

Yes, I can understand and empathesise with the alienation and the shock.

Molly, go for it (covering it for Care2: and other third-sector resources if you can).

And isn't it good how surveillance reveals truth and truths? Until I read the next paragraph, I was thinking "Oh! A Bonnie and Clyde situation!"

Flares are frequently used in sport situations to intimidate the other side and to show solidarity with your team.

Rubber - especially recycled rubber - is not easy to see. Ah, if they had listened in their science classes about the effects of fire on different substances. A peer lesson would probably be just as effective.

(It is never a good idea to play with fire? Christine Reed would beg to differ there. Her son William has had great experiences sharing with fire pits and other safe, controlled ways to experience this element. Her elder son is probably a contemporary of the boys).

Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

I think their story does make sense. I can easily see something like this happening. How many stupid things did I do as a kid and just got lucky? I'm sorry you lost your playground and I'm sorry these 3 teens are paying some serious consequences, especially from malicious adults. Their mistake, while not harmless was in many ways innocent. I'm just grateful no one was seriously injured. As sad as the loss of your playground is, it can be rebuilt. Their lives are more important and I'm glad they survived this mistake unharmed. At least physically. I'm sure they learned some valuable lessons.

Sally said...

Here's a plea for all parents out there - how about teaching your kids to take responsibility for their actions? Every kid has a cell phone. Their first thought should have been "Oh no, we set the rubber on fire, let's call the fire dept before the whole thing burns down!" No, they ran. Community service and restitution should be their punishment, and in a way that affects THEIR and their parents' pocket books because I think the only deterrent to this kind of behavior is monetary punishment. Then they can go around and talk about how they will be paying for this (monetarily) for many years - that will impress their peers - no money for cars, movies, games etc for a looooooong time! I assume the insurance company will be attempting to collect restitution from them....