Tonight started like any other night at work. Later, it would change in a direction I never expected.
I heard the story on the news about a man in Siren, Wisconsin, who was killed after shooting at people randomly, wounding 3 people, including a sherriff's deputy who was shot in the arm and ended up firing on the suspect. The suspect was shot in the throat and died on the way to the hospital. The full story is here at this link:
When I heard this story on the news, I thought, "What the hell is going on in this world?" I was glad to hear that nobody else was killed or seriously hurt. Then you think, "What on Earth could be so bad that you have to start shooting at people because they are there? There had to be something really wrong with that person (the suspect) for them to just go out shooting like that."
For the people who were shot at, it had to be terrifying. I can't imagine what they must have gone through, especially the van with a family and children in the vehicle.
I feel sad for the family who lost their loved one in such a manner, wondering what could have been done to help them. What were they going through that was so terrible? Did they just lose their job? Did they break up with a significant other? Did someone they care about recently pass away suddenly? You just never know what people are struggling with, which is why it's best to try and be kind to people, even if they aren't very kind to you.
Mike Ritchie was someone I only knew a few short weeks at my new job. He was a set-up tech, and was usually the first one in with the start ups and a smile. He usually brought us Jolly Rancher candies or butterscotches and was happy to tell us stories about Siren, Wisconsin, where he drove home to every day from work, and then drove back to work each day to Anoka, Minnesota. I knew he liked to hunt because he talked about deer hunting and bear hunting.
The last day I saw him, he looked like he was upset about something. He didn't smile and joke like he did before. He didn't say anything. He just came in with some paperwork and then turned around and left. Not like him at all. I remembered him saying his cat had died, and he was upset about that, but I didn't know if that was troubling him or if there was something else. I didn't know much about him.
I didn't ask.
It was none of my business.
I just chalked it up to he was having a bad day and thought, "He'll work it out for himself."
Nobody but Mike and God know what was going through his mind on Sunday morning at 11:45 a.m. when he began shooting randomly at people in Siren, Wisconsin. No autopsy in the world will be able to rerun the last thoughts going through his brain. It will say if he was on drugs, alcohol or under the influence of some other substance. But for his family and his friends, the question will still be, "Why?"
Mike, I hope you find peace, wherever you are. And I'm sorry I didn't ask what was bothering you. I don't know if it would have made a difference or not in what happened on Sunday. I'll never know.
My prayers go out to those people Mike shot at. I hope you all can overcome this terrifying incident and can still find the good in people.
Please, everyone, be kind to one another. And if you see someone is not acting the way they usually do, please, ask them if they need to talk, or if there is something they need. Sometimes people just need to vent and sometimes just knowing somebody acknowledges they are there means the difference between triumph or tragedy.
But if someone is depressed and in trouble, make it your business, especially if they are a friend or a relative. You may save more than one life just by asking a simple question, "Are you ok?"