What do You Say to a Ten-Year-Old Who Has Had His Schoolyard Turned Into a Murder Scene?

GP Editorial.

A man in a safety vest has been found dead, shot in the head. And now Karin has to tell her boy that someone has been murdered in his schoolyard.

“The leafy, refurbished playground he has been so happy to hang out in is now cordoned off. “We are now many, many who heard the helicopters over our neighborhoods last night, thinking about how to tell our children (just as so many parents in vulnerable suburbs did for years before the violence came to us),” she writes on Facebook.

A couple of days later, the spread of rumors and fantasies is in full swing among the children. It is, of course, completely inevitable. Someone knows where there is blood among the bushes, and the children have run there and looked.

“It wasn’t rotten leaves or so mom, it kind of looked red,” says Karin’s son. He has heard someone say that it is a serial killer who is loose.

How do you answer as a parent?

The boy is ten years old. How do you proceed when what is supposed to be the safe harbor outside the home has become a murder scene?

There is a lot of talk about “meeting hatred with love”, or facing “violence with love”, or facing terror with paper hearts. It is repeated regularly by politicians after spectacular acts of violence. I last saw it after the murder of a twelve-year-old girl in Botkyrka.

It’s not just a platitude, it’s making love into some kind of abstraction. In fact, it is violence that eats into what people love. Every time it is shot in a schoolyard, and every time parents are forced to talk to their children about bombs.

“It was not long ago that they shot someone there… Then we had to send in all the children. It’s awful to say, but we’re starting to get used to it, ”said, for example, an educator at Dimvädersgatan’s preschool, who has been particularly affected by gangster violence (Göteborg Direkt 22/8 2016). There the children went out and demonstrated to appeal to the gangs to stop shooting. With paper hearts, by the way. And the violence continued.

That a man in a safety vest is murdered with a shot to the head is a dozen incident in Sweden. Many will sort this out as another matter between gangsters and without actual victims, not least because it has long been the core of political crisis management. I remember the Member of Parliament Hillevi Larsson’s (S) famous statement in the Riksdag: “The shootings have primarily affected criminals. So it is gangsters who shoot each other. It is, of course, worrying in itself, but no one in the public has been affected so far. ” (Riksdagens protokoll 2017/18: 28).

But lawlessness has countless victims who do not fit into the statistics. And it’s easy to forget that people are differently vulnerable.

Just Karin’s boy has an autism diagnosis. School has become a safe place in his life, but it has not been a matter of course.

“Last year he felt really bad, but this autumn he has finally ended up in a smaller, calmer class, with committed teachers who see his strengths and give him tasks at a better level. A big advantage has been the lush park they are allowed to be in during the breaks, ”Karin writes to me. Now he handles the anxiety by becoming fiery and stubborn when the murder comes up.

“We are reviewing our relocation opportunities,” she writes. “Kids need to be able to ride bikes to friends, and so on. Going around and worrying about armed robbery and murder is not a life. ”

Paulina Neuding

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