Prayers For Kalamazoo

Ever since I found out my best friend’s older brother was in the Uber vehicle that we would later find out belonged to an alleged killer, my heart has been heavy. I’ve been sad.

I keep thinking, “what if?” 

I am so incredibly thankful he is okay, but, I am also incredibly sad for the families who lost a loved one(s) from this tragic ordeal.

I still can’t wrap my mind around how or why this happened. And what makes it even harder is we may never know. And even if we do find out, it may never make sense to us.

But, I have been and always will be a believer in God and guardian angels because I believe if weren’t for them, my best friend’s brother might not have been so lucky. He’s like another brother to me; I’ve known him since I was born and he and my brother are best friends and have been since kindergarten.

I’m glad he trusted his gut and got out of the vehicle when he did. I was talking to my mom about it on the phone this morning and she said, “I couldn’t have imagined a world without him.” And I thought the same thing. But the sad reality is, is that there are now 6 families living that nightmare. They now have to live their lives not imagining life without their loved ones but, actually living it. And that, it breaks my heart. 

And of course it’s not just the shooting from Kalamazoo that makes me feel this way, it’s all of them that occur. But, this one hits particularly close to home because a close family friend of mine was involved.

Not only that, but if people didn’t know where his hometown (which is the same as mine) was before, they sure know where it’s at now, due to the national attention the tragedy has received. I was down in Nashville when I first heard about it and it even showed up on the TV at the bar my friend and I were at yesterday.

  

Not only do I know my best friend’s brother who live in Kalamazoo, but, I know other people as well. Friends, sorority sisters, etc. It’s sad and scary because it could have been anyone, anywhere. It could have been someone else I know. I’m thankful it wasn’t, but, it’s a scary thought knowing this kind of thing CAN happen anywhere.

There clearly was some kind of mental illness this man was dealing with, and I can only hope that moving forward more can be done about education on mental health. I see people say guns are the problem, but, in my opinion I disagree. 

People kill people.

It doesn’t matter if the person has a gun–he or she can and will find other means to harm people if they really want. I know not everyone agrees with that but, I’m sick of the blame being put on guns.

It’s a mixture of the two–I believe some, not all, people need to be educated on gun safety AND even proper lock up. Because even if a person legally owns a gun and isn’t mentally ill, it doesn’t mean that someone who IS mentally ill can’t potentially get their hands on the gun if it’s not properly stored and locked up. Again, this is just MY opinion.

Secondly, mental illness needs to be talked about more. I think we try to brush it off and under the rug, but, it’s a serious problem. I think if it was a more discussed topic people wouldn’t be afraid to seek treatment–they might actually realize they need treatment to begin with. And even if the person with mental illness himself/herself doesn’t realize they need help, again, if we talk about it more then other people–like family and loved ones–could notice the signs and get the person help.

This is strictly my opinion, and in regards to people boycotting Uber… On one hand I would like to agree, but as others have pointed out, it really isn’t Uber’s fault. Sure, maybe they could do more in terms of background checks or something but, this guy had no criminal history, nor, could Uber have predicted this individual would go on a killing spree. And like I mentioned earlier, this could have happened anywhere, any time. Things happen that we can’t always predict or understand. But again, moving forward, I hope more can be done to be able to discuss mental illness more openly and more often because I believe that’s the root of the problem. Not guns. Again, just my opinion and not everyone will agree but, something major needs to be done. 

We as a country can’t keep saying we’ll make change, we need to ACT on it.

I’m thinking of my friend’s family, especially her brother and his fiancée–who originally posted to her Facebook about how bizarre the alleged shooter was acting when her fiancé was riding in the Uner before the driver eventually went on his killing spree. She and her fiancé had even filed a police report right after the bizarre ride and unfortunately action wasn’t taken soon enough. But, what’s done is done and what we can do now is make sure justice is served for the victims whose lives were taken much too soon and pray for their families and other loved ones. ❤️

Michigan is my home.

And I understand this could have happened elsewhere, and shootings have occurred before, I’m not ignoring that fact–but, my heart is extremely heavy it happened in my home state, and while my family friend wasn’t killed, it still doesn’t make it any less sad. The whole situation is just awful and like I said, we as a community AND state AND country need to stand together not just for this mass murder, but all of them.

#PrayersForKalamazoo

#MichiganStrong

– Ana

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