I wonder what Mylan Hicks was thinking about on Saturday night. Maybe his thoughts were focused on the buddies he was hanging out with in Calgary. Or he contemplated how weird it was that he – Mylan Hicks, a guy who’d lived the first 22 years of his life in Detroit and the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing with no aspirations of ever leaving the U.S.A. – was now in a whole other country, albeit in a place city one could squint a bit and imagine Michigan.
Maybe he thought himself lucky to be playing the game he loved for a dominant team. Perhaps he promised himself one more time that he would maximize his playing opportunities for those monstrous Calgary Stampeders to show the San Francisco 49ers and NFL that damn right he was worth another look. Maybe he was thinking nothing so social or lofty, rather deducing like most of have at some point that he’d had a touch too much partying and really wanted some sleep.
But one thought that likely never entered Mylan Hicks’s mind was that he wouldn’t live through Sundy morning.
In these days following the fatal shooting outside a Calgary nightclub, we remember Mylan Hicks. In Canada, on the MSU campus, in Detroit and everywhere via internet, we remember him as a “beautiful person,” a Rose Bowl winner, a force of nature in high-school ball
We remember him because for those who go on, it’s the only thing to do. Because Mylan Hicks is dead well before his time.
Me? I’m just angry about the whole thing. I mean, the *whole thing*. Like, let’s put it plainly: When is the human race going to grow up? Seriously, people, WTF?
“Now hang on there, yankee,” you may interrupt. “We still don’t know the details of the incident. No need to be getting ruffled feathers about this yet.”
Fair enough, the much-reported “act of violence” resulting in Mylan’s death is, almost two days out, still without much information in continuing media reportage. Hell, this story doesn’t need any sort of racist and/or alcohol-fueled color for us to guess that somebody who should not be toting firearms was packing a piece was, and that person ended a life.
Mylan Hicks could be a symbol for the elimination of gun violence in North America if not for the squall of news produced in the US, from Milwaukee, from Charlotte, from Dallas, from Chicago – the sort of news which makes the casual observer believe that the issues behind such violence are too large to be solved, that dudes like Mylan are fated to meet such senseless ends.
Maybe, just maybe, Mylan Hicks’s death won’t be senseless. Maybe this is the incident that wakes up regular folks like you and I to certain realities that we can deal with. Stuff like the fact that we’re all in this together, about how real issues like environmental damage, the failure of international capitalism and the usual disquietude throughout the planet. Rhetoric and unrealistic idealism aside, this is a time to come together in non-violent fashion to rise above the petty xenophobia that should have been buried with the turn of the millennium. Sure, the world may be scary but it is our fellow humans down in the trenches with whom we should stand united.
The grueling truth here is that, had not some irresponsible and dangerous individual (a teenager, we’re now told) in Calgary given in to irrational fear and baser instincts on Saturday night, Mylan Hicks would be suiting up for the Stampeders this weekend, and the man himself might have enriched more lives instead of passing by most of us through a mention in a Canadian or Michiganian headline.
So when that moment of silence is observed for Mylan Hicks in CFL stadiums and TSN/ESPN broadcasts this weekend, use that time wisely and think. Think about Mylan Hicks’s unfortunate fate, about the world which fosters such incidents, and about our commonalities as individual human beings rather than our differences.
Wake up, everybody, and think. Because we can. Because we are still here, and we are the ones fated to remember.
R.I.P. Mylan Hicks (1993-2016)