Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Scenes from a Schoolyard - São Paulo

Extra post from today; this is the event that caused my visit to CONSEG yesterday. This photo is not mine. It is a still picture from the video cameras in front of a school in São Paulo where a man was shot and killed yesterday. It is all over the news here (this particular shot is from www.uol.com.br.) The man was walking back from the bank where he had withdrawn $3000 reais (US$1500) and tucked the money into his pants. He was then followed by the man in the red sweatshirt (someone in the bank tipped off the killer) and held up. He reacted and tried to stop the robber, and he was killed.

The murdered man was 39 years old and the father of 3 kids (7, 15, and 16 years old). He had gotten the cash out to help pay for the house he was building. Not only did he have a full-time day job at the school near where he was killed, but he took night time jobs as an electrician and as a gardener to try to make ends meet. He made the terrible fatal mistake of reacting. He tried to stop the man who killed him from taking the money with which he was building a life and a home for himself.

This type of crime (robbery followed by homicide) is growing in São Paulo. And the advice I get is to never react. And I will try my best if this should ever happen to me. I think no one knows until it happens--I tend to become a mother bear if my kids are involved. Please don't let my kids be involved.

But the most shocking thing to me about this event? An interview in the Folha newspaper today of a 12-year old girl who goes to the school where the man worked. She has already seen three gunfights in her life. Personally. In person. Bullets over her head.  And she says: "I am not very afraid of assaults or this kind of thing because my mom has been held up only twice, and now she's fine..." There is something very wrong with this situation if a child is saying her mom has been held up "only twice." How many times does it need to be before it is not okay?

Makes me sad.

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