It was so sad to hear of the Umpqua School Shooting in Oregon. My heart goes out to all the families and loved ones affected. I'm aware of what a community goes through when this happens. It happened to my little town of Moses Lake back in 1996 when Barry Loukitis killed two students and his teacher at Frontier Middle School. I remember this day very well. I was waiting for my children to arrive home from school when I heard all kinds of sirens going off. My dad had given me a police scanner back them and I knew something was going on. When my children arrived home safe and sound, they informed me of what they had heard.
We knew one of the boys* that was killed; he and his family were members of our church. Our pastor had a lot to deal with during this time. It was a community of about 12,000 people so most everyone had some kind of connection when this tragedy took place.
Fast forward a few years to this past week. After doing some routine errands we wanted to escape the heat. It was a very warm day and my husband and I decided to go to lunch at the beach. We parked in the parking lot and purchased our parking ticket. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was at least 13 degrees cooler. We enjoyed our favorite meal watching the waves of the ocean and the surfers perfecting their craft. After lunch we were going to walk on the pier but the sun was shining it's brightest and we had to walk back to the car to extend our parking.
Between the parking lot and the ocean, there is small green grassy area. After extending our parking, we found that our beach chairs and umbrella were in the trunk so we set them up on the grass. It was quiet and we were enjoying the view of the ocean, shaded by the trees. There were a line of cars parked behind us and one of them was running with the driver inside. I didn't pay much attention since I had pulled out my needlepoint and was busy stitching.
After a few minutes, my husband commented on the driver since her head was down. I said "maybe she's bent over texting since the sun is shining". You could hear the car engine accelerate. A few more minutes passed and my husband said "I think she's having seizures since she's jerking". We walked over to the car and I knocked on the passenger window - no response. My husband walked over to the driver's side window and knocked - no response.
At this point, we called 911. I was a bit hesitant since I never interfere with people and their personal space but obviously, this was different. Within three or four minutes, the sheriff arrived in the parking lot. He went over to the passenger door and luckily it was unlocked. He then opened the driver's door and immediately knew what was happening. The driver was had overdosed on heroin!
I was scared - I don't know why. When my husband had looked in the window, he could see what he thought were bruises on the driver's leg. Turned out they weren't bruises; they were track lines from injecting heroin. The ambulance arrived within another minute and the sheriff cut the seat belt to free the driver. They put the driver on the ground and immediately started oxygen and I think they gave the driver some type of shots too. The driver regained consciousness within a few minutes. They took the driver away in the ambulance.
The sheriff spoke with us and told us he could not arrest the driver for possession of heroin since the 911 call was in regard to the driver being unresponsive. The sheriff did find the heroin "kit" in the car. After awhile, the towing company arrived and towed away the car. The sheriff was extremely kind to us and did his job well.
Here's what surprised me that day. When I hear or read of drugs these day, I immediately think of pills. Not hard line heroin. The area we were in that day is a very safe, family oriented place. The driver looked like any ordinary person, driving a late model car. But, obviously, this was not the case. Why would someone want to do this to themselves? I spent about an hour googling heroin addiction and how the veins in the arms collapse hence the need to inject in their legs. How they have to wear long sleeves and pants, to cover their track lines. And, how they are never sure what strength of heroin they are injecting into their bodies. Sad, very sad indeed.
I'm hoping that this person will realize they could have died. If the car engine had stopped, with the windows rolled up on this very warm day, I think it would have been the end. Or, if we would not have called 911 that day, would the driver have woke up from this overdose? Maybe, this person will change their life but of course, we will never know. I hope she gets the help she needs.
It was a wake up call for me. I always am positive with life and only see the good. After this experience, I feel that our world is really broken in places. And, I don't know what I can do to fix it.
with my best wishes,
*There is a second part to this sad story. The boy who was killed had a cousin. The cousin killed his mother and sister later that year in our same little town of Moses Lake. . .