Friday, October 17, 2008

We really need some heroes now

I hope to meet Alexis Goggins some day. She is a hero to me. I’ve always thought I could take a bullet for family members and a couple of close friends, but always wonder what I’d actually do when the metal starts to fly. How about you?

Alexis didn’t hesitate to dive in front of multiple bullets aimed at her mom. They were fired from the gun of an assailant, Calvin Tillie, who sat at close range, a seat away from her mother, in fact, as they sat inside an SUV parked at a west side Detroit gas station. The man – a term I use loosely – was an angry and abusive friend of the mother, who was bent on teaching her a lesson. One Tillie hoped would result in the loss of her life. But Alexis would have none of that.

Sensing imminent danger, Alexis threw her body over her mom’s, just before the shots rang out – bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Then the gunman fled. Alexis lay seriously wounded.

This week Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy presented the first Alexis Goggins Everyday Hero Award, an honor that will, hopefully, be presented each year to a brave Wayne County resident. Alexis, 8, received an engraved glass plaque from Worthy.

Alexis' heroism has to be attributed, in part at least, to youth and naivete. But it's hugely commendable, especially in light of what some young people in our city did this week.

Detroit police arrested three suspects ages 15 to 18 some five hours after they were allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Christopher Walker. The victim was fatally shot in the head and chest a block from Henry Ford High School, right after classes let out. Initial news reports indicate the son of a Detroit police lieutenant is a prime suspect no less. He and the other suspects are expected to be arraigned in 36th District Court this weekend.

Three other teens, ages 15 to 16, were shot and injured, in the senseless act of violence. Yet again, young people injured, dreams deferred and lives derailed for nothing that matters -- really, at the end of the day.

Tillie, was sentenced last month to to 25 years to 60 in prison, for shooting Alexis multiple times at point-blank range. The attack resulted in her losing an eye and having to endure a number of surgeries.

One young person saves a life while other youths take the life of a teen. I'm behind the hero. I hope that both are lessons that parents and young people learn from.

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