Yes, There Really is a Kalamazoo

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Not enough words, but far too many. A thousand thoughts, so many emotions, with no way to speak them, to package them neatly in sentences.

The unspeakable horror, grief for the victims, the families.

Anger at a social, cultural, legislative reality that not only allows for but propagates these horrors time and time again. Resignation that this is only the latest chapter in a long story of hate. Revulsion that we all know it will happen again, maybe not here, maybe not now, but soon, and similarly.

Sadness that this is just one episode of violence and terror in a world filled with so much of it, that for some people this wouldn’t be news, wouldn’t be anything more than another day in the midst of many filled with dread. Rage again, at how we point our fears outside our borders until we can’t see the monsters in our midst.

A reminder that life is terrifying and random and cruel no how hard we try to be safe. A desire to hug my loved ones tight, live life and chase my dreams to the end.

And also sadness, sadness that the place I am from, the one with the name that has made countless people laugh with disbelief, the place that has poked fun at its own existence with t-shirts and pins and mousepads, that now this place has made the international news.

Kalamazoo, not world famous for its weird name.

Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo, and yes, it is so much more than this. But right now it’s just the latest place where a man picked up and fired a gun.

But Kalamazoo County is where there is a cul-de-sac I played street hockey on, where I skinned my knees falling off my Razor Scooter. It’s Rocketstar, and candy canes in Bronson Park, and driving down the highway listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s the Air Zoo and beers at Bell’s Brewery and the wacky personalities at the Circle K.

It’s a great town, a beautiful town, like so many others that have been struck by similar tragedies across the US, victims to an epidemic of fear, of anger, of hate, one which we still haven’t found a cure for.

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