Living on the other side of the giant pond that is the Atlantic Ocean, I have to play detective every now and then. I'm an active user of Facebook (not in a creepy stalker way) because it helps me keep up with the locus of my network in the US as well as my classmates who are scattering to literally every corner of the world. I've noticed as an ex-pat that people will actively share good news (e.g. engagements, weddings, births) but rarely the bad news (e.g. divorce, sickness, death). So, I have to passively put the pieces together and do some lateral thinking. And, it matters because people matter to me.
Last week, there was a shooting tragedy in College Station, Texas. The incident was not related to Texas A&M University (I can't even imagine a student shooter ever stepping foot on campus). My understanding is that a law enforcement officer had delivered a subpoena to appear in court for unpaid rent to the shooter at his home near the university campus, just south of Kyle Field. This crazy man ended up opening fire and shot 65 rounds (!), ultimately killing the law enforcement officer and injuring others. I don't understand why or how anyone could do this. People from my beloved alma mater have shown an outpouring of love and helped to pick up the pieces. Over 3,000 people attended the funeral service for the slain law enforcement officer.
Another example hits closer to home and is the inspiration for this blog post. I'm blessed to be part of two A&M families. The first is Texas A&M University. The second is Alvarez & Marsal, my former employer. Using my Sherlock Holmes skills, I found out that one of the people injured in this shooting was the mother of a summer intern at Alvarez & Marsal. Barbara Holdsworth was helping her daughter move into a home for her senior year at Texas A&M. As an innocent bystander and out of nowhere, Barbara was shot multiple times through the back and was rushed to the nearest hospital to undergo surgery. She is in critical care at the moment.
Friends and family have mobilized to raise money for Barbara's medical expenses. As a single mother of two children, I can't imagine the significant burden she must now be facing given the cost of healthcare in the US. I don't know who and how many people actually read this blog. My hope is that some of you would consider donating to this fund for Barbara. http://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser_details?fundraiser_id=7625&url=barb#.UC0YIJamvJQ.facebook
Reading the comments on the "Supporters" tab reminds me of the power of the human spirit.
I hope one day the US will come up with some sensible form of gun control legislation and insurance regulation to cover mental health because this type of event happens far too often. In London, stories like this don't happen because quite frankly people don't own guns. I respect the Bill of Rights and believe in individual liberties as much as the next American; however, was it really necessary for this shooter to own a handgun, a semi-automatic sniper rifle, an assault rifle, and a bolt-action rifle?