Stay Strong, Kalamazoo! Silent Ride and Other Thoughts
With the grim details of the February shooting still at the forefront of our minds, Kalamazoo had to deal with another tragedy; a man in a truck driving over nine bicyclists, killing five of them. We were still so raw from devastation four months ago, that something so tragic as Tuesday's crash doesn't seem possible.
I was naive, you see. In a society where we have to clarify which mass-shooting we're discussing day-by-day, and where we watch as some incidents that weren't "as large", "as terrorist," "as gut wrenching" as the last, slip in to the annuls of history, in the wake of the Uber shooting, I had a very sad, yet realistic thought; "Well, it was going to happen here sooner or later. Glad we got ours out of the way." Before you judge me on what can only be described as a very callous thought, take a glance at this list of mass shootings since the beginning of this year alone.
The dust was settling. The Uber Shooter's trial was beginning. Kalamazoo was showing the nation just how strong we were. Tiana Carruthers appeared on Steve Harvey detailing her experience. Abby Kopf walked out of a hospital. Wings of buildings were being dedicated to the lost. We were helping each other through this tragedy, and we were steadily improving...
And then someone comes upon a group of bicyclists and intentionally kills five.
Once again, our wonderful city is thrust in the media spotlight, and not for a positive reason. To say it saddens me is surely an understatement.
As I was leaving work last night, I glanced up to see several bicyclists riding down Park St. I nodded in approval... and then watched in stunned awe as this string of bicycles never seemed to end. I would later find that I was driving on the route of the Silent Ride, set up in memory of the lost, some 600 bikes strong.
Yes, streets were blocked off and many of us were mildly inconvenienced for about twenty minutes, but it was worth it to see, once again, Kalamazoo not shying away in the face of violence, but rather strapping on the trappings of war to fight this foe head-on. Seeing something like the Silent Ride reminded our community that Kalamazooligans are strong, and that we're all in this together.
My heart goes out to those affected by Tuesday's events. Hopefully you will find comfort in seeing our community rise up to be the strength our city needs so much right now.