With so much in the headlines about the removal of statues, a headline like "City Removes Officer Eric Zapata Memorial from Site Near Kalamazoo Mall" is sure to raise a few hackles. But before you go sharing a story based on its headline alone, further investigation (read: actually reading the article) will settle things down a bit. The city did not get rid of the memorial to a fallen officer; they decided to move it to the headquarters building for the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

The statue had been the target of vandalism in the past; once recently, and once in March of 2019, and Kalamazoo's Chief of Public Safety, Karianne Thomas, said, "I wanted to ensure it did not become a target of future damage," according to the article.

Officer Eric Zapata's tragic, untimely death is something that the Kalamazoo community felt deeply. The 35-year-old was killed in 2011 while responding to a call of shots fired on Hays Park Avenue. The loving father of three was hit in the chest during a shoot out with a suspect that would later commit suicide. The events were devastating, and I think we can agree that moving his memorial to a location where it will be under the watchful eyes of the men and women who served with him is a much better place for it than at the mercy of vandals.

Look, friends. We are living in incredibly divisive times. Everything is being polarized and politicized, and it's very important that we do our due diligence and read something before sharing it. Misinformation or assumption only serves to fuel biases and helps no one. Vet before you put it on the internet.

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