If I just saved the day, why do I feel so guilty? I hate feeling this way.
Let's begin at the beginning. I was outside, helping my #2 daughter with tennis practice, loading the ball machine and giving encouragement (because I have no idea if she is hitting correctly or not) and I heard some yelling over the side fence, way down the field. We live next to an open field. We have a gate that opens into the field as do about 3 or 4 other people whose houses back up to it and sometimes people will walk their dogs in the field. I couldn't understand what the man was yelling about, but he sounded mad and then these two young boys, maybe 10 years old came running past the yard. They weren't running really fast and I had seen them running yesterday or the day before, much faster, so I figured they had been messing with someone's dog or gate or something and that person was mad at them so they were scooting on home. They ran past and down the way and snuck through a gate that is locked but open enough for little people to squeeze through.
I didn't think too much about it and helped clean up the tennis balls and went inside.
I got on the computer and about 30 minutes later, my husband came in and said there was a police officer at the front door. He said I needed to go and talk to him. When I went out, the officer asked if I knew of any boys in the neighborhood who were about 12 years old. I said my son is 11 and the boy across the street is about the same age, but nobody else in the neighborhood is that age. He asked if I had seen any boys come down the court and said that two boys had set a fire in the field earlier. I told him about the two running boys and that it was about 30-40 minutes earlier. He said that was the right time and asked where they had gone.
I pointed him in the right direction and said I could probably pick them out if I saw them again since I had seen them earlier in the week, I thought the day before running past me as well. I said we would catch them for sure.
So, he drove off and I got in my car and searched the neighborhood. The first time around, I didn't see any kids. What kid was dumb enough to stay outside after starting a fire in the field? Well, sure enough, the second time around the block, there they were outside their house, talking to an older man and running up and down the street. I watched them for a little while to see which house they belonged to and then tried to call the police.
Did you know that if you try to call 911 on your cell phone, you get the highway patrol, and they tell you to call 911 if it is an emergency? And then they put you on hold? I guess you had better not have an emergency if you are on your cell phone. So, I hung up and drove past the boys and got the house number so I could go home and call the police. All this time, my heart is beating out of my chest and I'm about to have a heart attack!
As I go home, I see the police car around the corner, talking to the man who yelled at the boys in the first place so I drove over and told him that I found the boys. The police officer was super surprised that I took the time to drive around and look for them. I told him I wasn't 100% sure that they were the boys, but I was pretty sure I had them and gave him the address.
Then, I talked to the man who put out the fire and he told me about the fire that happened 5 years ago in that field. It burned a house to the ground and how just a little while later, one of the neighborhood boys tried to start another fire because he thought it was so cool. His parents took him to the fire station and had him enrolled in some fire safety classes. At least those parents took responsibility and taught their son a lesson.
So, then, the guy that saw the boys in the first place got a call from the police officer to come and ID the boys. The two guys suggested I go over and talk to the police officer too. So, I drove over and talked to him and said, yeah, those are the boys, I'm 90% sure. The officer said that as soon as he pulled up, the boys started crying. A third boy came over and gave one of the boys a black sweatshirt to put on, like he was trying to hide something so I'm 99.9% we got the right guys. Then, one of the men drove by and gave a positive ID on the boys as well, so I do feel good that we caught the boys, but I also feel bad that I had to be a part of it and my heart won't stop racing.
I would never make a good cop. I would feel guilty all of the time for catching people making bad choices. I want people to make the right choices and not make mistakes.
I'm glad that I was able to help out, of course, now these boys know that I ratted them out and they know where I live and I fully expect to get my house egged or burned to the ground or worse...these boys will grow up and come to my high school and remember me as the lady who turned them in to the police and they will be in my science class. I won't remember who they are. Ergh. Will I sleep tonight?