Senseless. All other words and thoughts fail me.
Last Thursday evening we received the news the United States District Court Judge Terrence Berg had been shot by would be robbers while standing on the porch of his house. Terry and his wife Anita have been good friends of mine for many years. My ex-wife Diane and I met them through our church. We’ve watched their three terrific kids grow up. Seen them in school plays and musical recitals. Their youngest learned to swim in our pool. Diane has been a defacto aunt to their girls. Twice I’ve hosted a panel of attorneys in my law office to grill Terry in “moot court” sessions to prepare him for interviews for his appointment as the United States Attorney (a job he ultimately didn’t get) and U. S. District Court Judge (a job he did get).
The details can be found in coverage in the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Two young men approached Terry from behind after he had taken the garbage can back to the yard from the curb. They put a gun in his back and said don’t turn around, we don’t want to hurt you, let us in the house. He turned around said “I can’t let you do that” and they shot him in the leg a fled.
The fact that Terry took a bullet to protect his family is hardly a surprise. We all would like to think we would have the same courage and selflessness in a similar situation. The nagging question is why should Terry or anyone else have to?
Okay, we live in Detroit. It’s a voluntary choice. Terry’s wife Anita anticipated what the reaction of some would be.
“We just want people to know that this is not a reason to hate Detroit,” U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg’s wife, Anita Sevier, told the Free Press Friday. “Instead of being angry, be part of the solution for the hopeless teens and children of Detroit.”
She stressed, “We don’t want this to be a reason to hate.”
I don’t own any fire arms. I’ve thought about it. But I’ve always concluded it’s just not worth it. Am I thinking about it again? I suppose so.
Sometimes you can do everything right and bad things still happen. Andre Poux was one of my teachers in high school. I remember he taught an economics course I’m not sure what else. He and his wife and children lived in the Rosedale Grandmont neighborhood. He was well known, well liked, very active in the community. He was shot and killed when he confronted a teen aged home intruder in the middle of the night. That was probably 20 years ago. The shooter was caught convicted and serving a life sentence. Senseless. Bad things sometimes happen.
From a law enforcement point of view the guys who shot Terry picked the wrong target. This isn’t a file on an over worked Detroit Police Detective’s desk. The FBI and the U.S. Federal Marshalls are heading up the investigation. Terry worked with the FBI for many years as a Federal Prosecutor. This is personal.
We know Terry’s injuries were not life threatening. But they are certainly not trivial. He’s an avid runner and has completed a couple of marathons. Those days may be over.
Let’s all send positive thoughts and prayers to Terry, Anita and the kids. And let’s give some thought to Anita’s challenge. How can we be part of the solution for hopeless teens and children of Detroit?