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CATCHING A FALLING STAR

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This article was recently written by staff writer Cameron Posey in response to the recent violence that recently took place in Charles County:

They’re bright. They’re fiery. They’re amazing souring across sky.
Seeing them in their element is stunning and aspiring all at once. Getting too close to one means the risk of getting burned, but you’re willing to take that risk. When it falls your way, you stick out your hands to catch it.
But how many times can you keep getting burned when catching one? How long does it take before you realize you can’t hold one anymore, before the blisters redden, dry, swell, then char?
For every parent, every teacher, for anyone whoever cared about someone dearly, it’s a horrible reality we have to come to when we can’t help them. It’s a fire that consumes us and when we realize it, the pain only worsens. It leaves scars for the rest of our lives and we prick them, punishing ourselves.
For what happened to Bradley A. Brown and the ones involved in his death is a deep wound that will never heal properly. On that Tuesday evening, February 18, four stars fell on a cloudy night. It was especially hard for me to see this news as a substitute teacher who, at one point, had bumped into, talked with, and even taught the kids involved in the incident.
I recognized Bradley’s rimmed glasses and bright smile from the time he saw me at his teacher’s desk, knowing it was going to be a relaxed day.
I recall Darryl Freeman, the baby-face giant, handing me his class schedule for honors English. The smooth grin he wore on his face when presenting, in his small group, the racial disparities related to Richard Wright’s book Native Son, a reading assignment given over the summer.
His mug shot posted on every local news sight, charged with first degree murder for Bradley’s death. The sad irony is that he’s the modern-day version of Bigger Thomas, the main character in Native Son, who was also arrested and charged for first degree murder.
The other two young men arrested in Bradley’s death I had walked past and saw in the hallways, maybe even stood-in in their classes at St. Charles and Thomas Stone High School, during my three years subbing in Charles County.
One thing’s for certain: two seniors will never graduate this year and a community is left broken over a drug trade for THC vaping cartridges. The trade was not worth the potential these four young men had or could have had.
What they could have done, their future, we can never know now. It’s been cut short by a senseless tragedy that will leave families blaming themselves and teachers and friends tackling the age-old question: “What went wrong? How could this have happened? Why them? Why now? Why us?”
The unease truth is: when catching a falling star, holding out our hands, alone, won’t do. Instead, we must knot together into a net. Even if the star burns through, all we can to do is tie ourselves, tighter and stronger, and hope that the next star we catch won’t continue to fall.