We work very hard to address the better side of things that happen in our community. We're not blind to the fact that we're imperfect and that crime and bad things happen here, but all too often, the bad things are used to just get you to click on a story and react. We don't base what we publish on those ideals.
Midday, Friday April 7th, across social media reports of gunfire and a police chase started surfacing. Like most anything immensely negative, shock, anger and frustration set in. The idea of everything we face as a society today came to mind. Guns, drugs, poverty, inequity and more. There really are no direct answers to why this shooting happened, but in a town as small and connected as ours, it burns in quick and hard. We waited to see and hear a little more instead of going right to the social outlets we have to alarm people about the shooting. Spreading more fear and panic isn't a net gain here.
The loss of a child is beyond measure. It's a deep cut into the fiber of all of our community. Crime is everywhere, this is true, but to look at this particular situation and the level of devastation that's come has to give you a moment to stop and think about where in our community are we failing to instill the basic values of the simplicity of life into people? One child is dead, but think of the parents of the child. Think of the grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles...now, think about the criminals. Not only are their lives "over" for their actions, they will have to carry the guilt with them of this senseless act while the sit in prison. This is in no way a sympathy letter to criminals, but a fleeting action in a moment can often cost a lifetime of anguish and when they become a little older, and a little wiser....they will see the gravity of what's happened. Or, maybe they won't, and that's an even bigger failure.
The value of our community isn't defined by this one horrific incident. Not for a second. We are a community built on caring neighbors, giving people and open hearts and hands. We do have to understand though that not everyone is in those spheres and that strife is still very real here. There's need for healing. There's need for help. There's need for compassion and justice too. Like so many other Midwest cities that had days in the past that were much more prosperous and have gone through times that struggle is all some have known. It took a while for it to become this way, and there's no overnight fix. We are imperfect and most are doing all that they can for a better, and brighter tomorrow. While we can't ignore this incident, we also can't say it defines us.
To the family of the lost child, please know, your loss is our loss. God be with you in this time of pain. To those who committed this crime. Why? Was it worth it? Did you think thru all of the ramifications of what could happen when you set out for whatever "revenge" you were looking for? Please tell me there was no intent of taking the life of one of our kids before it even began. Your suffering is about to begin and that in and of itself is a tragedy too. To our community. Continue to love more. Continue to forgive when you need to. Continue to work toward better for all of us. Give when you can and I am not talking about just money. Give of the heart and work toward the healing we need to prevent this senseless violence that is fueled by poverty, inequity and divide. We will never be a utopia, no place will, but we are one incredible community and we are defined by our future.
Publisher/ Muskegon Channel