In Loving Memory of Elizabeth Reiser
I try to have faith in humanity and in this world, but it's a day like this when I think humanity is beyond hope. The town I live in, Dover, Ohio, is a small one, with a fairly conservative and tight knit community. Everyone pretends that our town is "different." We ignore the problems with drugs, the stress and depression the kids have to deal with, and the events that go on beyond closed doors. We tell ourselves that we're not like other cities, bad things don't happen here. But last night, a bad thing, a very bad thing, happened. A junior girl from Dover High School was murdered and raped, and her friend, a junior girl from New Phila. High School, had an attempt made on her life. Supposedly, they were at Hollywood Videos late at night on May 23rd, a well lit place located next to the shopping mall, and they picked up a hitchhiker. As a result, one girl I go to school with is dead, and her friend is in serious condition. Someone, for some unkown reason, felt it necessary to take Liz's innocence, and then her life, and to try to take the other girl's life as well. There are rape and murder cases around the globe happening everyday, and each one I hear makes me sick to my stomach, but this one hit much closer to home than any of the others. A conference was held for the teachers today in between second and third periods to let them know what happened. My sociology teacher, Miss Pfeiffer, walked in and told us that Liz Reiser had been murdered. I watched her begin to cry, watched a junior girl in the front row begin to cry, watched as people's mouths fell open, but I could do nothing. I kept seeing Liz's face in my mind, thinking of how frightened she had to have been, wondering what happened. I could see scenes playing over and over in my mind. I didn't even know Liz. I saw her in the hallways occasionally, knew people who were friends with her. But why, why? Why did they let that man get into their car? Did they know him? Was he just a gentle looking hitchhiker? Maybe he looked like any clean cut guy who goes to my high school. No one knows. I wandered into my fourth period class, and when people started to talk as if nothing had happened, I thought I would throw up. How can people just go on with their day, even if they didn't know the girl? This is someone we walked next to in the hallways, sat next to in class, and SHE IS GONE, ripped from this world in the most violent matter imaginable. I handed in my final paper to Mr. Keffer and left. I couldn't take the seemingly insensitivity. I don't care if that's how people chose to cope with the news, it's just not right. Liz deserves more respect than that. Liz's friends and family deserve more respect than that. I knew then that I had to get out of the school. There was no way I could deal with humanity. Not with those pictures incessantly running through my head, not with that knot in the pit of my stomach. So here I am, writing these awful words here. I couldn't even think before, just stare off into the distance and clutch myself, trying to shake off the invading cold. Liz is every girl I have every known. It could have been anyone. I remember once in government class I said that I advocated recuperation of criminals in prison. But I could never imagine being comfortable with the man who raped and killed Liz and nearly killed the other girl walking the streets of this world again. Someone that horrible should not have freedom. He took Liz's freedom, and he took Liz's friend's freedom, for she will never be the same again, always looking behind her shoulder, always waking up in the middle of the night with Liz's screams ringing in her ears. I want to have faith in this world, but how can I on a day like today? The sun is shining, the birds are singing outside my window, but all I can hear are screams.
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