July 2, 2009
Michael Jackson was there for us when it mattered
most. He didn't have to, but that was the side of him that many
people did not know.
On a day when the City of Stockton was down for the count, Michael
Jackson showed up out of the blue and resuscitated us back into
existence. We could
not do the same for him.
After a madman with a rifle killed and injured dozens of schoolchildren
at Cleveland Elementary in Stockton, California, nobody would
expect the world's biggest musical superstar to take notice
and make the effort to show up in person in January of 1989.
Patrick Purdy may have destroyed many lives that day, but Michael
Jackson's presence helped bring more attention and compassion
to the victims than anybody else on planet Earth could have
done in a hundred years.
I certainly remember the panic in the air around Stockton, the
calamity and desperation of parents stopping everything they
were doing and racing to get their kids out of school immediately.
I clearly recall hoping desperately that the police got there
fast and ended it in a hurry.
The incident in Stockton led to a quick assault rifle ban in
California and was the beginning of national campaigns and activism
against these types of deadly guns, according to an analysis
by Reuters. Michael Jackson played a major role by his presence
there that day.
Michael Jackson's Support
Michael Jackson, coolest pop singer on the planet, showed up
in Stockton with "truckloads of gifts to the children"
and helped comfort survivors of the attack, according to Diane
Batres who worked for the district attorney's victim witness
The Record newspaper of Stockton has reported that Michael Jackson
went far beyond the call of duty when he visited the classrooms
of Cleveland Elementary School and met with the injured survivors
of the shooting.
This is true. The residents of Stockton suffered a huge psychological
blow that cannot be described, one where one minute all is normal
and the next minute a crazed maniac with an assault rifle is
shooting and killing
innocent children at an elementary school. The rage, madness
and intensity of this cannot be compared. The Future
It has been a little more than twenty years since the Cleveland
Elementary School shooting in Stockton, but I get chills every
time I think about it because I lived in Stockton at the time,
was a high school student then, and it easily could have been
my school that Purdy attacked.
Michael Jackson was exceptionally different and he had more
than his share of troubles. But I don't remember any of that
My most powerful and long-lasting memory of Michael Jackson
was after that school shooting in my hometown when he showed
up and brought doses of mesmerizing happiness and cool comfort
that nobody else in the world could bring.
At the height of his fame, he reached out to a community that
needed help in the worst way. The king of pop is dead. Long
live the king. Long live the king. Again I say, long live the
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