We hear about death every day.
And I’m not going to lie, when I see an article or a news story about someone who died, or was killed, it doesn’t really affect me. And what I mean that is I don’t let it affect me. Because I didn’t know who this person was 17 seconds ago. Do I wish they were still alive? Of course. But I’m not one of those people who’s going to hear about a death on the news and suddenly let it ruin my day.
If I wanted to, I could investigate into the person’s life. Or hear interviews from the people who loved him or her. And then I’d become sad. Because that person would be more real to me. They would mean more to me than just a name.
But I don’t want to be sad. Who does? So I don’t do any research, and just move on. When people die, it is — rightfully — their friends and family who mourn them, who remember them. Those are the ones who knew the deceased best, and will never let their memories of them die.
However, yesterday, I read about a death that really, really devastated me.
A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook about Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher in Danvers, MA, who was stabbed to death inside of her school’s bathroom by a 14-year-old student.
I couldn’t help but click on the link. I needed to know more. At the top of the article, the first thing shown is a photo of Colleen, and it’s hard not to notice that she was very pretty. But then I kept reading, and the article, written by Gawker, included a link to her Twitter account. Further intrigued, I clicked.
It’s a Twitter account unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. There’s no complaining, no immature jokes, no selfies, no ambiguous or mindless comments.
Instead, it’s full of homework assignments. Colleen Ritzer actually used her Twitter account for a practical purpose — to inform her students of each night’s assignments. Every night. She didn’t miss any.
But that’s not all. She posted corny math jokes, including a photo of a pumpkin inscribed with the Pi symbol. She ended a good portion of her Tweets with a smiley face, and was encouraging towards anyone who Tweeted at her, whether it was a student or a friend. Heck, one of her Tweets even showed her enthusiasm for an upcoming Parent-Teacher Night.
That’s right. She actually had such a passion for teaching that she couldn’t wait to inform parents about it.
Here’s another one of her recent tweets:
And somehow, inexplicably, she’s dead. This vibrant, intelligent, delightful girl was stabbed to death by a 14-year-old student. How does that make any sense at all? Words can’t express how much this upsets me. The world needs more people like Colleen Ritzer, but instead, we now have less.
Nearly 40,000 people already ‘like’ a RIP Colleen Ritzer page on Facebook, and the Boston Red Sox paid tribute to her prior to last night’s Game 1 of the World Series, as pictured at the top of this post.
Again, if you watch the next edition of the news — on any station — there will be another tragic story about someone else who was murdered. And the same will happen tomorrow. But this is one that deserved to be brought to attention.
And after learning about it a mere 24 hours ago, I know I won’t soon forget Colleen Ritzer.