another senseless tragedy. this time, it hits home.


My adopted hometown is reeling from the shocking mass shooting that occurred here last night.

Like every time I hear of a mass shooting, I was sad and angry when I woke and heard the news.

But this time, it had hit too close to home. Not only did it happen here in Kalamazoo — funky, artsy, laid-back, beer city Kzoo — but two of the six fatalities were my colleague Laurie’s beloved husband and son.

RIP Rich Smith and Tyler Smith. Your lives were not lost in vain. We will honor your memories and do what we can to lift up your grieving  family.

I know our community is strong — Kalamazoo is one of the tightest-knit communities I’ve ever known. Our work family will rally behind Laurie and her family, and I know our Kzoo community will do the same; it’s who we are: Kalamazoo cares for our own.

But nothing can take back those six lives that were lost in a shooting spree, and it breaks my heart that my colleague’s life is forever changed.

*       *         *

Just this past Friday, I was assisting in a survey research project and one of the questions  I was asked was, “What do you most fear having to talk to your children about?”

My answer?  “A school shooting/mass shooting, because if that happened, I couldn’t protect them. And nowadays, they can happen anywhere and at any time. And that terrifies me.”

Well, that reality came to be here last night.

We are not safe anywhere. And now five families — and our entire community  — are left to grieve and face the tragic outcome of an absolutely abhorrent criminal act.

I would  love to think things will change now — after yet another mass shooting. But the truth is, even Sandy Hook didn’t elicit tighter gun laws or any real change. And if Sandy Hook didn’t … how can we expect anything to?

All I know is, six people are not home with their families tonight, and it’s beyond devastating.

Please pray for Laurie’s family and for our entire community. ❤ When I have more info on memorial funds, etc., I will be sure to update.





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