I woke up Monday morning to countless texts, tweets, and Facebook posts telling everyone in my hometown to stay safe. Stay safe? I’m from a small town outside of Philadelphia, so this wasn’t something I heard all too often.
I immediately checked the news and was shocked to find that a killer was on the loose. Not in the town down the road or nearby: in my hometown. I was taken back to hear the name of my small town all over the top news channels.
By mid afternoon on Monday afternoon, Bradley Stone had killed 6 members of his family and critically injured 1 other. Schools were on lockdown. Police were everywhere. Helicopters were circling above my house.
Through all of this, I learned it’s easy to sympathize with others in times of tragedy, but ultimately, it’s extremely hard to empathize, even though a lot of us tend to think that we can. Prior to this incident, nothing like this had ever happened in my hometown. While I had thought I could empathize with others who went through similar situations in the past, looking back I hadn’t really done a good job.
It’s hard to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially during such a tragic and scary event. It’s easy to say “Wow, that’s scary” or “Be careful”, but these words take on a whole new meaning when everything is going on in your back yard. I’ve lived in the Harleysville / Lansdale area my entire life, so it really hit me hard seeing all of this happen somewhere that I’ve always felt so safe in. I’m grateful for our dedicated police and law enforcement officers who spent countless hours trying to find Stone and protect our community.
It’s settling to know no one else’s life will be taken in Stone’s rampage seeing as his body was found today; however, it’s upsetting knowing 6 people lost their lives (and 1 was critically injured) in the process.
Hold your loved ones close this holiday season and please keep all of those involved in your prayers.