The Washington Times-Herald

January 25, 2014

We must come together to end drug violence

The Washington Times-Herald

---- — We must come together to end drug violence

Dear Editor:

Seventeen years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. With his deep blue eyes and curly blonde hair, he looked like an angel.

I had him at a time when I was struggling with life. That night, alone in my hospital bed, I snuggled him close to me and told him that life isn’t always easy, but know that we have each other and together, we will be fine.

I watched him grow and he was my sunshine. In fact, that was our song. He was so smart, so friendly, so loving and he had the biggest heart. He loved his friends, his family and could not tolerate anyone being mistreated, especially elderly, kids, or animals. He would not let anyone be in a bad mood if he was around.

He started having trouble in school as he got older, I was told to put him on ADHD medication and when his teens hit, I had a lot of trouble with him due to his class clown, footloose attitude. All the counseling, the constant lectures by me and others he respected were never taken seriously.

One thing he did take seriously was his faith and he asked to be baptized a few years back. Praise God for that. Despite his behavior issues, he was still my sweet funny boy and I never gave up that he’d grow up and be a special man.

Then a few months ago, I learned he was going to be a dad and I was very upset cause I saw it as putting more obstacles in his path! In spite of our disagreements, we still took time to hug and tell each other how much we loved each other all the time.

On Dec. 5, we did just that and he left to go to a friend’s house. I was awaken by a loud pounding at my door at 6 a.m. and was introduced to Laura Petty, coroner, and several police officers. They proceeded to inform me that my beautiful boy had been shot by another boy at close range, was dropped off at the ER and died all alone around 2:30 a.m.

I have never felt pain like that, it was as if I’d had my heart ripped out and part of me died with him. That pain hasn’t stopped and without him, my life doesn’t seem worth living. If it weren’t for my other three beautiful kids, I would just lay down and die myself.

Petty, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, Washington Police Department, Indiana State Police and the prosecutor’s office have been so kind and are working so hard to see that my son gets justice. He never did anything to deserve what happened to him and I’m haunted by the cold-blooded, heartless way his short life was taken and what he went through without me with him. You hear about these horrific crimes in big cities, but not in Washington.

They have arrested the boys responsible for murdering my son, but what scares me and the reason for this letter is how many young kids are carrying guns, selling drugs, talking about killing other kids as though they were hunting a wild animal? What else are these kids capable of?

No one should ever have to make funeral arrangements for their child, and certainly not because of the senseless violence of others. I do not want another parent to have to go through what I am going through. It’s a gut-wrenching nightmare I’ll never awaken from.

As a community, we have to do something, everything we can to change these kids’ hearts. There are so many wonderful people already out there such as Pete Aldrich, Brad Rainey, Nathanial Rainey and the PowerHouse, Carol Gregory, the Lighthouse, churches, etc. I am devoting my life to trying to stop the pain and the wasted lives.

I implore all of you in the community to join me and the wonderful people I’ve mentioned to make a change or try to help in any way. I was so blessed at the comfort and support that my family, friends, neighbors, strangers, Harvest Community Fellowship, Washington Township trustee’s office, Lighthouse, Ed Lee Mortuary and so many others have rallied to help us through this dark time in our lives.

Please help us get together and as a community, do all we can. Devan would want his life and his death to make a difference.

As for my next grandbaby, I am thrilled he left us a part of him yet it breaks my heart little Devan will never know how awesome his daddy was.

Tammy Burris