Returning home after 14 days out of the country was both wonderful and sad. I thoroughly enjoyed being across the globe and was thrilled to have had that opportunity to travel with my whole family. Everywhere we went, it was busy. Airports – busy. Public transportation – busy. Tourist spots – busy. Shopping centers – busy. Clearly, people are making the most of summer.
Honestly, I did not want to come here. I was afraid for the safety of myself and my children. We are Christians, our names indicate that… Not only are we Christians, but we are “westerners”, our clothes indicate that… But when my father told me that he plans on this being one of his last (if not his last) trip to Cairo, Egypt, (the country he and my mom were born in and lived in for the first 30 years of their lives) and that he wanted me and my sister, as well as our kids, to join, I couldn’t say no.
I love this time of year because while we are all working, it just goes without saying that we all shift a bit of our attention to pure family time. As our kids enjoy the carefree days of summer, our goal is that they stay safe morning to night.
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) says that most Texans along the coast have learned to take hurricanes seriously and prepare ahead of time; however, some of the more than a million people that have moved into our area more recently, may not understand how tropical weather systems can affect their communities.
Doesn’t it seem like the last few weeks have been overwhelmingly sad? We’ve dealt with an active shooter in Houston; the details of a horrific rape at Stanford; the tragic killing of rising star and The Voice alum Christina Grimmie; and woke up last Sunday morning to the devastating news out of Orlando that claimed the lives of 50 and injured 50 more. In between, there were other stories that shook us, hurt us and left us shaking our heads wondering what was going on with our world and our society?
According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, nearly one in five college women were victims of rape or attempted rape during their freshman year, with the most falling prey during the “red zone” or the first three months on campus. A Brown professor’s study led her to conclude that “rape is a common experience among college-aged women.”
Here’s the problem. We think it can never happen here. We see the news, follow the headlines and shake our heads when we read about it elsewhere, but deep inside, we think it just could not happen here. Sadly, mass shootings are the new phenomenon and this week, one took place in our backyard, on a beautiful Sunday, in a great part of town, in a busy part of the city. We lost an innocent victim, Gene Linscomb, a well-loved community member from Memorial, father to a recent fifth grade graduate from Frostwood Elementary School. Additionally, six others were directly injured but, thankfully, are expected to survive.
April is recognized as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month and your Crime Stoppers of Houston joined community-wide efforts to raise awareness about this serious issue:
– Press Conference: Held on April 1st in partnership with The Children’s Assessment Center (CAC), the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the Harris County Attorney’s Office and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. We announced the 12 most wanted child abuse fugitives in Harris County and encouraged Houstonians to actively engage in keeping our children safe from abuse and neglect.
As the number of senior citizens in Harris County continues to grow, new forms of elder abuse and exploitation constantly appear. We must all recognize the ongoing and new schemes and scams that plague persons 65 and older. The term exploitation includes the illegal or improper use or attempted use of an elderly person’s assets or resources.
What really makes a hero? Do you ever think about that?
Certainly, law enforcement, firefighters, doctors and all first responders come to mind. I think of people like Officer Ann Carrizales, the Stafford officer shot in the face and chest during a routine traffic stop in 2013. Never one to back down, she got back in her car, chased her suspects into Houston and apprehended one of three before seeking medical treatment. Today, she divides her time between protecting the community (“I was born to be a protector,” Carrizales said, “I would gladly lay down my life to protect any of you”) and using her personal story of danger, the fight and triumph to give strength and inspiration to millions around the globe through her travel and public speaking.