This is a very upsetting and scary story, I'll just throw that out there right now. It is not what you want to hear about, especially since it has to do with a couple of little girls, who are 11 and 12. That's right, nowhere near the age to even drive, and what they were planning to do to their classmates comes right out of a horror novel.

These 2 girls brought knives to their school in Barstow, FL, in order to kill classmates, cut them up, and drink the blood. The girls then planned to take their own lives. This is absolutely horrifying. Investigators say that they were waiting in a bathroom for a smaller classmate to walk in when they were found. We can be thankful that administrators at the Barstow Middle School went looking for the girls when they were not in class, and stopped this tragedy from occurring.

I have no way of knowing the details of these girls' lives, or that they are suffering from any type of mental illness, however, add 2 here and 2 there, and you get a very persuasive 4. With the first week in October being Mental Illness Awareness Week, I think we need to have some serious conversations with the people in our lives, especially if we see something that seems just off. There is still a stigma involving mental illness, and there shouldn't be. If you are diagnosed with any other illness, you get treatment, no judgments, but, mental illness?

There are several resources available for those who are in any type of mental health crisis, including 24 hour local phone lines where you can call for help, extra police training for our sworn officers who may have to respond to these calls, and a whole network of doctors and mental health professionals less than an hour away, in any direction. These are all a great start, we could use more for sure.

This brings to mind those young girls over in WI, who deliberately led a young girl into the woods and repeatedly stabbed her, almost killing her, in order to impress the fictional Slenderman. They were both sentenced to decades in a lock-down psychiatric unit, one for over 25 years, the other 40 years. Wisconsin is right next door, and if it can happen there, well, of course, it can happen anywhere.

I am just so thankful that nobody was hurt, these girls were caught, and that they are hopefully getting the help they so desperately need. My daughter is in middle school and this hits so close to home. To think that some of these children, who should still be more worried about getting homework completed, are capable of putting thought into action, and such a terrible action it is.

photo by M. Raust