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JAMES AND MIKE

7/30/2013

Until a month ago, I would've been one of those people. Until it became personal, I could've been that guy. James Van Horn ("Eat 'Em Up Tigers" guy) and Dreadlock Mike were killed by a hit and run driver after a Friday night Tigers game. And most of us reached out to express our condolences, asked how we could help with funeral expenses, remembering fondly seeing them outside Comerica Park - James with that Hulk hand holding a cup, chanting "Eat 'Em Up Tigers" in what felt like 100 different ways.

But then I started to notice "those people" - the ones who'd go on social media, or comment on a news story about James & Mike and make the observations "Why didn't he just get a place to live?" or "All the dumb suburbanites just giving him money to buy crack". Until a month ago, I might've said stuff like that. 

I was in Los Angeles visiting family when I found out what happened to one of my cousins -- one of my favorite cousins growing up. He fell into the world of heroin, and hasn't been in contact with my family for over a year (last time they saw him was at a bus stop known for drug dealers). People in the neighborhood say they've seen him...but he's just a shell of his former self. 

So why doesn't he just quit taking drugs and come back to a family that loves him? Do you really think it's that easy? Congrats - you've solved one of the nations biggest problems. Care to tackle health care in your spare time?

Until a month ago I asked the same questions. Now all I know is that when you see a homeless person, or someone struggling with addiction...don't judge. In most instances that's a person with a family that cares about him or her. We all have demons in our lives, some eat us alive. 

You're entitled to your opinion. It's a free country and all that crap. But if you need to tear someone down to feel better about yourself, be careful. Everyone walks a thin line in life, and it doesn't take much to be on the other side. 

I tell my kids all the time "treat people the way you'd like to be treated". Time for adults to think that way. 

God bless James & Mike. 


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