I don’t know whether or not this is true or if it’s Valley legend, but I’m going to share it anyway. From the moment the texts began chiming into my daughters’ phones, and postings on Facebook informed us there was a shooting in the neighborhood on New Year’s Eve, we paid attention as the details of the incident unfolded.
We warned our girls to be cautious about accepting and spreading information and suggested they patiently wait for the facts. These “facts” are continuing to trickle into the mainstream as life goes marching on.
What we do know ten days later is that there was an incident of a drug deal gone bad. Very bad. A 17 year-old boy was shot and killed while attempting to sell a pound of pot for $3,500. The prospective buyer—or according to news reports, a 19 year-old boy accompanying the prospective buyer—reportedly had no intention of handing over the cash. Instead, he pulled a gun. And, we were told—and this is the part I cannot shake—that the last words of the seller, the now deceased 17 year-old, were, “He won’t shoot me.”
If true, I can’t help but wonder how long it took for that statement to provoke the shooter, and if there was any time at all for the boy who uttered those words to process that he’d been shot.
Aside from being a drug dealer, the dead boy was known as a “good kid,” a loved boy from a good family. He went to one of Tucson’s most exclusive high schools and we had heard he was planning to attend Harvard University. Or was it Stanford? Both had been reported. They don’t let just anyone into those schools, do they? You’ve gotta be smart, right?
Many questions arise as to why he resorted to dealing drugs and how he got involved with someone with a criminal record, who didn’t hesitate to shoot him when he wouldn’t handover the weed. But when I heard he faced the serious, deadly metal of .40 Caliber Glock pistol and he didn’t handover the weed, my first thought (with apologies to those who loved him) was, “was he STUPID?”
I think the appropriate word here is not stupid, but rather, “naïve.” And yet, I’m still shaking my head. After all, we choose to raise our kids in these upscale, supposedly safe neighborhoods. We send them to good schools; give them the best educations we can, and teach them to stay away from drugs and alcohol. We THINK we know what they’re up to even as we hand them keys to their own cars at the age of 16.
But as this case proves, sometimes not even THEY know or understand what they’re up to. As they move toward independence and we move away from managing their every move, we’re left with little more than hope. We hope they’re going to be okay on the good side of town—away from the crime we see on TV and read about in the papers.
So, now I ask, did this boy’s mother have any idea her son was dealing quantities of weed? Or did the mother of the boy at whose house this crime occurred have a clue what was going on while she was “out of town?” Should these parents also be accused of naiveté? I don’t even want to wrap my mind around trying to imagine how the mothers (and the kids who witnessed the murder) feel right now, and I pray they have strength to get through this.
I want to believe that I’m a smart mother, raising smart girls who will make wise choices. Of course, I want to protect them from the sometimes harsh realities of the world around them, but at the same time, I don’t want them to be naïve. I want them to understand that sometimes shit happens simply as a matter of bad luck. Anyone can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And when I seem to them to be overprotective or asking too many questions about where they’re going and with whom? I hope they learn I’m doing my best not be naïve.
Rest in peace, young man, Carlos Sandoval. I didn’t know you, but it appears we have several mutual Facebook friends, and I do know a couple of the boys who were with you when you died. In fact, I’ve known them since they were very young—and innocent. And in conclusion, I say to my girls and to all the high school kids out there who might be reading this, please, for God’s sake, don’t let this happen again. Don’t be naïve. MAKE WISE CHOICES.