Last week Mark Loesch had the audacity to get on his bike at 10:30 at night and ride it to a friend’s house in South Minneapolis. Mark never made it as some apparent punk smashed his head in instead. Just for riding his bike at night.
Mark lived about two blocks from me and although I didn’t know him, my kids played with his kids occasionally and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen his oldest son in my basement playing Madden on the Playstation. From all the stories I heard Mark seemed like a pretty good guy and I’m saddened that we never got to know each other better.
Sometimes we are able to create something good out of senseless, tragic crimes and last night in Southwest Minneapolis, something good did come out of Mark’s murder. To honor Mark, over 500 of his friends, family, and neighbors came out to walk or bike the route that Mark took on his last night. We gathered at King Field park, signed a banner, and then took to the street. It was amazing to see a steady stream of people stretching over 5 blocks long and then to entirely fill one City block candles in hand in honor of this man. The mood was solemn, not sad, and people from 4 to 84, some with dogs, some on bikes, some with flowers stood shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand.
In true Minnesota fashion, we were not an angry vengeful mob, but a saddened, confused group of neighbors. Saddened that someone just like us could be cut down so senselessly, saddened that his 4 children will have no father, saddened that the City we love still has so much hate that someone would kill so randomly and confused because we don’t know what we can do to change what happened or what to do next.
It was a fitting tribute, one that that I will always remember but something that I hope I never have to do again.