An open letter in response to the shooting at MSU

Hello everyone, 

It’s me again Kris (with a K) here at the Handlon Campus. I wish it wasn’t the case, but I write this article with a heavy heart. I watched the local news in shock and horror while the reporter spoke live to several terrified, confused, and devastated MSU Students. These 18- and 19-year-old freshmen students told us about their feelings and experience as a mentally ill gunman entered their school unannounced on a quiet, normal night, and scattered life-altering gunfire. In the background, there were several ambulances and law enforcement vehicles lighting up the streets with those familiar red, white, and blue emergency lights that told the young MSU students that help was this way: “We saw the lights over here so we ran here because we knew it would be safe” was what they told the local news reporters.

As a Calvin University Student here at the Handlon Campus, I watched with a broken heart full of sorrow. I hung onto the words of desperation these young people (who were frightened and confused, not knowing if their friends and fellow classmates were alive and well) used to tell the reporters their stories of terror. I hoped and prayed for them, as tears welled up inside of me because I couldn’t do more to help them in their time of need. 

As a father, I knew that parents around the state, country, and world must be worried about their children as this horrifying news made its way to them. I felt helpless, so I prayed for God’s grace, mercy, and comfort to embrace them all until falling asleep. The next morning, I got up and realized that I was not alone. There were others within the Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI) community who had similar feelings and reactions.

Today, I write this article to voice my support for the MSU students and to voice my concern for the safety of our schools. Yes, I am a prisoner in the Michigan Department of Corrections who has much to atone for. I may not be the first-class kind of individual that you would envision speaking out on critical political issues that affect our community. Nevertheless, I will say that I am in full support of gun reform. I think that responsible lock-up laws, uniform background checks, and red flag laws are common sense, responsible measures that Michigan must take for the safety of our children and schools.

I am not naïve enough to believe that the reforms I suggest in this conversation will eradicate gun violence. However, I do believe they are the least we as a society can ask for from those who create artifacts with the sole intent of harming or killing. I am just asking the adults in the room to be responsible.


Kristopher B. Stidham

Guest Writer