A friend of mine, Hal Bowman, passed away on Wednesday. I wasn’t going to say anything here, because I try to follow a “no politics” rule on my blog. How, you may ask, is the death of a friend a political post? Well, because, you see, he was killed in a mass shooting in San Bernadino, and no sooner had the news broken than both social and mainstream media exploded with people politicizing the event. I wasn’t terribly close to Hal — we were both part of a science fiction / gaming group and had therefore played and dined together on a number of occasions but didn’t socialize much outside that — so I felt like I could and should keep quiet. Until this happened:
Some asshole set up a GoFundMe in Hal’s name. Someone the family has never heard of. We have no idea if said asshole plans to give even one dime of the money raised to victims’ families.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is just flat-out wrong.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we should all be very, very careful before opening our wallets to donate as a way of showing our shared national grief.
However, there is one cold, hard reality that this brought to the surface: Hal’s daughters are now going to finish growing up without their father. Hal’s ex-wife and her new husband (a great guy I was pretty good friends with in college, though we haven’t seen each other in years) are devastated themselves and will still need to help these girls through their grief. The last thing they wanted to be thinking about is fundraising.
But now, they have to. So, Hal’s ex-wife’s sister took charge and has created a fundraising page for Hal’s daughters’ education. If you want to donate to victims’ families, this one is legit, and the money received by the organizer will actually go to the children Hal left behind.
Words simply can’t describe how infuriating this all is. If you can help Hal’s children, it would be wonderful. And if you can help someone whose tragedy did not make international news, that would be wonderful, too. There are so many ways we human beings take advantage of each other. Let’s all try to help instead, all right?
12/6 ETA: The family has, I’m told, gotten in touch with the person who started the GoFundMe that prompted them to action and we’ve been told that everything is now straightened out. The family is still preferentially pointing people to the fundraiser I linked to above. However, they go on to say, “[Your] love and prayers are valued just as much – even more.”