Bobby Kent and My Anxious Parenting
My son went to prom last night. I finally attempted to go to bed at 11:45, but I didn’t sleep. I got in bed and read for about fifteen minutes until I heard the front door. Then, I ran downstairs to make sure my son was OK. He was there with his girlfriend. He was just going to change and then take her home. I was disappointed because this meant he had to go back out again after he was already home safe. I ended up falling asleep, but waking constantly through the night. When I woke at seven this morning, I went to my office window to make sure my son’s car was in the driveway. And the car was there, but that didn’t give me 100% relief. Why? Because Bobby Kent’s mom saw his car in the driveway one morning back in 1993, but she didn’t know that he was already laying in a rock quarry lake after being beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed with a scuba knife.
You can Google Bobby Kent and find out what happened, but you will only get one side of the story, the side of the person who murdered him. Bobby is dead and can’t tell his side of the story. Marty, the person who planned his murder, is alive and telling everyone that he just had to get together a group of people to murder Bobby because he was a bully. Oh, and it’s all OK because Marty found God in prison and he is now a preacher. That makes it all better, right?
I first met Bobby, along with his best friend who ultimately would gut him like a fish with a scuba knife, in eighth grade. Bobby and Marty were in sixth grade at the time. Bobby was always bigger than Marty, and always protective of him. Since I was good friends with Bobby’s older sister, I saw a lot of Bobby and Marty throughout middle and high school. In fact, when I got my first car, I drove over to the Kent house to see Bobby’s sister. I ended up driving Bobby and Marty to the movies. They were truly Frick and Frack. I never thought that Marty would end up murdering Bobby. When that did happen, it warped my already fragile trust of the world.
Because Bobby was murdered by his best friend, I have always been anxious about anyone who has befriended my son. If Marty could be Bobby’s best friend for twelve years and then murder him, who is to say that my son’s best friend would not murder him? Truthfully, I have threatened two teenagers who have threatened my son.
The first time was when I watched my then eight year-old son get put in a chokehold by an older boy. My son got free and ran in the house, saying, “I couldn’t breathe!!” I ran out the door and walked over to the boy who put my son in a chokehold. I’m only five feet tall, so he and his friends were larger than me. I looked him in the eye, and told him I would have him harmed if he ever touched my son again. He very quietly nodded and I went back to my house.
The second time, my son was at a neighbor’s house. The boy was pointing a knife at my son and asked him if he was scared. My son came home and told me. My husband was home and said he would go talk to the boy’s mom. I agreed to say nothing. That would have worked except the boy kept calling my son to torment him. So, I threatened him. Apparently this scared him so much that he told his mom on himself.
In both cases, my heart was racing and I was in a mama-lion panic mode. I was 22 when Bobby was killed. I didn’t have my son yet, but I will never forget seeing Bobby’s parents and his sister after his body was found. It stayed with me. My son has grown up seeing the newspaper clippings and hearing that your best friend can become your worst enemy. I heard him whisper to a friend once, “She’s like this because of Bobby Kent.” The friend knew what he was talking about because he had also seen the newspaper clippings.
I know I can’t control the world or keep my son safe with my fear and anxiety. He met a couple of friends at the park today, and I was worried until he got home. I will worry about him as long as I am alive. It’s not healthy, or helpful, it just is.
Thanks to my friend Judi for finding this article. Read it if you want a more well-rounded view of the crime, not just Marty’s story.
This post originally appeared on Lisa’s blog.