Nine-year-old Sinai Miller had been waiting all day to get her hands on her Girl Scout Cookies so she could start selling them door-to-door around her apartment complex.
Sinai (pronounced sih-NYE) had talked about the cookies when she woke up Tuesday. She had talked about the cookies when she got home from school.
After finishing her homework, she pointed out to her mother that it was almost 4:30, the time she was supposed to meet in the complex’s clubhouse with the other girls to pick up cookies and start knocking on doors.
But she never made it to the pickup.
Just as Sinai took a few steps outside her apartment, with one of her sisters next to her, the gunfire started.
Her mother, Shanita Miller, was just inside the door, zipping up the coat of another daughter. When she heard the shots, she pushed two of her daughters back into the apartment. But Sinai darted past all of them in silence.
She went further inside the apartment and then started hollering.
“Mama, mama, mama. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt.”
Shanita Miller asked her what hurt. And then she pulled up the girl’s pant leg. Sinai was covered in blood.
The wound from a stray bullet — its source still unknown to police — missed bone and artery, entering and exiting the girl’s calf without doing major physical damage. After a trip to the hospital, Sinai was back home in her own bed, her calf wrapped with thick gauze.
It is believed to be the first time in the United States — and certainly in Indiana — that a Girl Scout has been shot while involved in a cookie sales project, according to the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana.
“We cannot complete our mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place when they are afraid to play in their own neighborhoods,” said Deborah Hearn Smith, chief executive of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana.
The Girl Scout council, which operates troops in 45 counties, has created a Web page so Sinai can continue to meet her cookie goals while recuperating.
Those who wish can reserve a $4 box online or by calling (877) 474-2249; you’ll be contacted for payment after filling out the online form. If you live outside Central Indiana, you’ll have to pay shipping to get the cookies or you can donate them to Operation: Cookie Drop for delivery to active and retired military in this area.
As of late Thursday, more than 2,000 boxes had been purchased in Sinai’s name.
In wake of the violence, Sinai has been left with many questions.
“What did I do wrong?” she asked her family. “Why did this happen?”
The answer to the first question — nothing — is obvious.
Sinai is a kid who just stepped outside her door. Beyond that, Sinai is an A- and B-student as a third-grader at Fox Hill Elementary, her mother said. She likes to help her younger sisters with their schoolwork. She’s gregarious and kind.
After the shooting Sinai’s biggest concern — aside from the pain — was about the field trip, a trip to a roller rink, that she would be missing Friday, Miller said. Sinai asked if she might go another time.
The why question is more difficult.
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SOURCE: USA Today / The Indianapolis Star