Too close to home

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On Wednesday morning around 8AM, a student at nearby UCMerced pulled out a hunting knife in a classroom on campus and started stabbing people. By the time the whole thing was done, 4 people were being treated for stab wounds–two seriously enough to be transported by helicopter to a trauma hospital–and the 18-year-old student who initiated the attack was dead.

My nephew is a parking guard at the UC. He works mornings. My first thought, of course, was: Is Michael okay? I also have many wonderful friends and several book club members who are faculty and work at the school. Were they all safe?

Luckily, the answer to those questions is: YES.

But safe doesn’t mean they were untouched by what happened. As Jamie, Michael’s wife who also works at UCMerced but at an off-campus facility, put it in a Facebook post, there’s plenty of heartache to go around in the aftermath:

So many of Mike‘s family and our friends contacting me to check on us today. The parents and staff at my girls’ school checking on his safety, and if the girls were worried and ok. To say that the events of today were shocking or sad is such an understatement. But the outpouring of love and support has filled my heart and I want you to know how appreciative we are. Neither of us were on campus when it happened. By some strange twist of fate, I had asked Mike to take Parker to her orthodontist appointment this morning. He normally begins work at 6:45. Selfishly, I’m so grateful that he was not there during the attack. He was later let on campus and my heart is heavy for the heartache he had to witness in the aftermath.
My heart is breaking for the families of the victims and the witness who now are dealing with experiencing such a tragic event. There are many stories of heroism, kindness, and love today. Please please please let these affect you more than the fear and sadness. 

This attack made national news, so you’ve probably heard as much as I have about the details: http://abc30.com/news/uc-merced-stabbing-suspect-identified/1069531/ As days go on, we’ll have more details about the who, how, when, and where, but what we may never fully know is the why. Revenge may have been his the motive, but why wouldn’t some sort of failsafe kick in to tell this young man that what he plotted was a very bad idea–that he could wind up dead if the acted on his bizarre plans? A very bad idea, indeed.

My heart is still heavy, but, taking Jamie’s advice, I’m going to try to stay positive, focus on the good around me and hug my loved ones. You have to start somewhere.

Deb

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PS: I have something new and fun happening on my website. My publisher, Tule, has set up an interactive sort of contest that allows readers to participate in “unlocking” chapters of my not-yet-released book, MONTANA MIRACLE. Chapter 1 is already open. You can download it here: http://littl.ink/DKS