To the kids who shot at my car

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Dear Kids:

You shot my car with a paintball last night, as I was driving along the highway, just past Morningside. You drove past me and I heard something ping quite loudly off of the side of my car. I was mad. I thought you threw something at my car. I couldn’t believe someone would do something like that, and for no apparent reason.

The rest of the way home, I’ll admit, I was fuming, as I imagined a crater had formed somewhere on the body of my new car. I don’t even have a job right now, so fixing something like that would be a nightmare. I am incredibly deep in debt from my student loans, and I am living with a whiplash injury. Life isn’t as merry as it could be, but I am alive, so I guess it’s not that bad. However, anything money related literally makes me sick to my stomach.

You don’t know this feeling, but you will. After you attend school, withdrawing thousands of dollars in student loans, only to find out upon finishing, there aren’t any jobs, and you really do have to start paying the loan back. The job will come, don’t despair, there are many reasons to go to university but I want you to know, putting a dent in a car is actually a pretty big deal, for a lot of people. Maybe someday you will understand that.

Now, I know you are young and just trying to have fun, and that is OK. Live your life, do things that are a little bit crazy and don’t regret them. You really do only have your youth for so long, and it really is a time to be treasured. However, have smart fun. Don’t do things that may cause people to die. Imagine you had been one split second later, and my car window was opened. You would have shot me in the head. That, I would survive, but driving 100 km/h down the highway, I would have lost control of my vehicle, and flipped it into the ditch. Not many people survive those types of accidents. My car isn’t very big. I doubt it would withstand something like that either.

I am not ready to die. I feel I have a lot left to accomplish. In fact, I love young people, just like you. And I feel bad for the ones who are lost. Those are the people I want to work with. I want them to know that no matter what happens in life, there is always a way out, a way to better oneself. There is always hope.

This is why I didn’t call the police on you. You are probably just normal kids, surely not of the criminal persuasion. I think when police respond to a complaint a parent should be responding too; it sets a young person up for a life of deviance. The stigma that is attached to them and the belief they adopt about themselves as criminals, afterwards, can be enough to send them on a downward spiral. You don’t belong in prison. I would advise that you stay far away from it, in fact. I hope the next time you are out having fun you think a little about how this could potentially end. If someone could die, then you should think long and hard about whether that is something you really want to live with. I bet it’s not. And I’m definitely not ready to go yet.

I am glad you only put a dent in my car. I appreciate your timing.

Andrea D. Smith

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