Crazy talk.

Which one of those craggy peaks is my daughter? Reynisfjara beach, near Vik, Iceland.

One subject I find endlessly fascinating is how mental illness — specific mental illness in individuals — dovetails with contemporary culture. Once upon a time, paranoid people believed they were literally bedeviled, by incubi and succubi. This gave way to space aliens, which yielded to internet-connected “targeted individuals.” (That’s a fascinating story I just linked; you should read.) Our local electrical utility has been installing so-called smart meters over the last few years, and a number of people have appeared at city council meetings, asking that the city refuse them, because if they’re installed, the utility will know which lights you have turned on, access to your electronic devices, etc., and they have no right to this information. STOP THE SURVEILLANCE STATE, etc.

For as long as I’ve been reading newspapers, people have been killing in the name of God — bombing abortion clinics, drowning their own children, or shooting their friends and family. We understand that when these people say God or Jesus or an angel told them to do these things, they’re nuts, because we understand that the Christian God is about love and understanding.

So when a man whom circumstantial evidence would suggest was a closeted homosexual kills 49 people in a gay bar, common sense would suggest his own shame and impulses had something to do with his motive. But if he pledges allegiance to an Islamic terror group instead, we decide this is Islamic terrorism, that he was “self-radicalized” – even though he showed no other evidence of religious dedication, like time at the mosque or even living by Islamic practices – and that this is part of a global plot that must be answered with an unprecedented policy overhaul.

And that’s crazy, if you ask me.

Maybe what we need now is more Muslim immigration, so we’d read more stories like this, about a Muslim trauma surgeon in Orlando, treating the victims of the massacre. Or like this, about ordinary Muslims in Detroit, who worry about the shitstorm these events bring down on their communities. Coincidentally, they have almost the same lead:

Dearborn Heights — One fearful thought gripped Bissan Harb when she learned about Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, the worst in modern American history: “Please don’t let it be a Muslim.”


ORLANDO, Fla. — When Dr. Joseph Ibrahim heard that the attack at the Pulse nightclub may have been linked to terrorism, he caught himself fearing any kind of link to his own Muslim, Middle-Eastern roots.

Please, he thought, don’t let Ibrahim appear anywhere in the gunman’s name.

And with that, I think it’s safe to say we’re 100 percent repatriated after our break. I even spent my first Saturday night home at a Jimmy Buffett concert. Yes, I did. And now that I’ve done it, I never have to do it again. A friend had review tickets, good ones, because he always writes about the pregame scene outside, which I could sum up in a hashtag: #drunkwhitepeople.

That said, it was fun, although by the end I could fairly say I was sick of steel drums, the stupid talking coconut and especially the insistent pandering to the locals. By which I mean? The song – don’t ask me to name it, because I don’t know – about beautiful places. The accompanying video montage started with images of Buffettville, beaches and swaying palms and so on, but transitioned to the cool blue lakes and pine forests of Michigan, before ending with a giant map of Michigan, just in case the drunker members of the audience didn’t get it. “Just once,” I told my friend, “I want to see what happens when the crew loads the wrong video file, and the Texans get North Carolina, or vice versa.” There was also a Glenn Frey tribute – “Take it Easy,” totally defensible – that had some tacked-on images of Gordie Howe. Weak.

But it was an enjoyable evening. And for all the excess in the parking lot – we found one converted school bus with a rooftop deck and hot tub – I thought these folks had the right idea:


Just a man, his girlfriend, a cooler and a kiddie pool in the back of a pickup truck. Note their ages, too — both 21. And they were by no means the youngest people in the crowd. Give Buffett this: No one has figured out a way to brand-extend the American vacation experience like he has.

OK, have to hit the ground running tomorrow, so this will be it for the day. Many more pictures to come. Tanned, rested and ready for the week.

Posted at 12:04 am in Current events, Detroit life |

41 responses to “Crazy talk.”

  1. Joe K said on June 20, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Saw Buffet twice in Indy downtown on the tennis courts early 80’s maybe 5000 people bought my first album of his in 74, liked it better back then but give the guy credit he knows his audience, and has made a ton of money,decent pilot also.
    Pilot Joe

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  2. beb said on June 20, 2016 at 1:36 am

    The tailgaters have the right idea. I’m over in Indiana to spent Father’s Day with my father and my daughter, so we got that whole generational thing going. Twas a tad hot and muggy today. It Detroit was anything like Mishwaka (and I’m sure it was) that a cool soak in a kiddie pool is the right idea.

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  3. ROGirl said on June 20, 2016 at 5:41 am

    At least when Jimmy Buffett performs, he can put anybody in the band and it won’t matter. I saw “The Beach Boys” a few years ago, and it consisted of Mike Love and… some other guys, maybe the son of a Wilson was one, but the rest were either absent or dead.

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  4. David C. said on June 20, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Omar Mateen didn’t just pledge his allegiance to ISIS, but to al Qaeda and Hezbollah at various times. So he’s either like a dedicated joiner, like a guy who joins the Masons, the Moose lodge, and the Odd Fellows (and never goes to the meetings), or he’s a wannabe nut. I’d bet on the wannabe nut, so white America can stop pissing themselves about self-radicalized Muslims and go back to shooting their assault rifles (no gunsplaining please and be happy.

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  5. Dave said on June 20, 2016 at 6:28 am

    I worked with a man who always thought someone was following him. He would come to work and run into the building, then peek out the window, watching for a car that he said had been following him. The car would drive by and keep on going. It was really odd. It was said he took a few shots at a car from his home one night that he thought was after him, if so, nothing came of it. Another fellow went fishing with him one time and said he was convinced they were being followed, he finally let the car “following” him get within visual range, it was a family car with a family in it. Pretty sneaky.

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  6. alex said on June 20, 2016 at 7:08 am

    I read that the FBI dismissed Mateen as a serious threat after interviewing him a few years ago because he had a dilettantish knowledge of the jihadist groups with which he claimed affiliation and no clue that the groups themselves regard each other as mortal enemies. It’s pretty obvious that he was a lone wolf with his own personal agenda.

    As for the Targeted Individual sort of paranoia, it reminds me of my high school classmate who became a paranoid schizophrenic in her twenties and when she’s off her meds thinks that the world’s intelligence agencies are all preoccupied with her every fart.

    My parents just returned from a dispiriting vacation with one of their old friends, who in his dotage has come to believe that God is raptly watching his every thought, word and deed. And he’s voting for Trump.

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  7. Suzanne said on June 20, 2016 at 7:51 am

    The downside of the Internet is that these paranoids now can find each other, which gives credence to their paranoid beliefs. “See? These guys are being followed, too! Proves I am not crazy!!” Back in the day when the world was not so interconnected, people would just nod and wink and give wide berth to weird Uncle Bob because, you know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Now, weird Uncle Bob can find the like minded online and they can feed each other’s fantasies. Ugh.

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  8. Deborah said on June 20, 2016 at 8:23 am

    My niece went through a period of extreme paranoia, it turned out she had not been taking her thyroid medicine. She got the fear of God put into her by a new Dr. You do not mess around not taking meds when you don’t have a working thyroid. My sister thought her daughter was becoming schizophrenic, but I was the one who figured it out from a thousand miles away. Everyone is fine now, this happened about 10 years ago.

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  9. Deborah said on June 20, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Love the craggy peaks photo.

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  10. Danny said on June 20, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Well now that the Cavs have won the championship, San Diego has ridden their coat tails into a championship of their own. We are now the most sports championship- starved city in America. We suck! And we’re number one at sucking!

    Oh well, surf’s up.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on June 20, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I saw something recently that truly startled me. Muslims make up one percent of the U.S. population, but 10 percent of our health care professionals. It struck me that I have only one “Christian” health professional. . .my dentist. The other doctors I see are either Jewish, Hindu or Muslim.

    I left NE Ohio for Columbus in June 1974 and said good bye to Ohio completely in 1985, but I was thrilled to see the Cavaliers bring a title to Cleveland, especially after I (along with most other NBA fans) counted them out when they fell to 3-1 against the Warriors. The title won’t make the crime and poverty go away, it won’t improve the school systems or clean up the corrupt police department, it won’t dissuade people from shooting up or losing themselves in opioids. But for at least a little while, the city will be united in something positive and joyful. At least until the Republican National Convention comes along to bum everyone out, LOL.

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  12. Bitter Scribe said on June 20, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Nancy–GREAT point. He probably just uttered the word ISIS because he wanted to make as big an impression as possible (as if shooting all those people wouldn’t do that) and he knew it would make lots of people lose their shit.

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  13. Danny said on June 20, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Nancy, despite the fact that there is ample anecdotal evidence of crazy folks having committed heinous, violent, murderous acts while claiming some affiliation with Christianity or alignment of their actions with Christian doctrine, it’s really not the same. Muslim doctrine has the concept of jihad which is not only used to codify and inform actions of individual, unbalanced adherents, but also the actions of entire populations of militants who claim holy warrior status.

    And that sets Islam apart from other major religions. In a big way.

    From Wikipedia:

    According to orientalist Bernard Lewis, “the overwhelming majority of classical theologians, jurists”, and specialists in the hadith “understood the obligation of jihad in a military sense.”[16] Javed Ahmad Ghamidi states that there is consensus among Islamic scholars that the concept of jihad will always include armed struggle against wrong doers.

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  14. Deborah said on June 20, 2016 at 11:09 am

    The older I get the more I can’t tolerate humidity. I can’t wait to go to NM on Weds and stay there for 3 weeks. And I grew up in Miami, FL, how in the world did I get so averse to it? What happened to the lake breezes? I’m dying here.

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  15. adrianne said on June 20, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I had to laugh out loud at David C.’s comments about Omar Mateen being a “dedicated joiner.” My take on the shooter: Most relevant fact in his biography is his being a horrible wife abuser. Domestic violence is a signifier for so many pathologies. But, incredibly, that detail is missing from the WSJ profile and others I’ve seen. Guess they’re wedded to the jihadist theory so much that inconvenient truths are to be disregarded.

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  16. brian stouder said on June 20, 2016 at 11:48 am

    In keeping with the headline on today’s entry, here’s some more crazy talk:

    the lead:

    NEW YORK (AP) — Republican Donald Trump is now claiming that he never suggested club-goers attacked in the Orlando massacre should have been armed. Trump said on Twitter early Monday that when he said “if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees.”

    Obviously, indeed.

    Danny – we can agree that the shooter was a terrorist.

    We may not agree that he was a “Radical Islamic terrorist” – any more than we’d agree about what the motives of two white boys who shot up Combine High School were

    some folks just want the infamy.

    Why did the buzz-cut white guys blow up the Federal building in OKC?

    The intrinsic mistake is to put more than just a little stock into what the “reasons” are for these things; they’re senselessly nihilistic.
    It seems that the perpetrators of these acts look to the acts themselves as the one thing that they’ll be remembered for, and not to advance any other cause

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  17. A. Riley said on June 20, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    So yesterday we had my best friend and her partner (and their doggies!) over for a cookout in the back yard, and it being a lovely hot&humid summer day, I set up the kiddie pool (a big one), the folding gazebo, the lawn chairs, and the folding tables with an ice bucket, hand fans, a jug of iced tea, and a bucket with iced beers, lemonade, and wine. And the ladies of a certain age plus one husband of a certain age) all sat in the back yard with our feet in the pool and fanned ourselves and drank cool drinks in the shade. I think that’s a *much* better use for a kiddie pool than letting noisy little kids monopolize it.

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  18. Charlotte said on June 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Buffett has some legitimate Michigan connections though — he and Jim Harrison were pals and his sister is married to Tom McGuane (although I’m sure he has that reel for all the places he plays). Personally, not my cup of tea AT ALL.

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  19. Sherri said on June 20, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Danny, Bernard Lewis is not the best source for an unbiased view of what jihad is. The very fact that he is referred to as an “orientalist” in your source should be a clue…

    I can give you a different source about jihad; I have no idea if it is definitive, but it has the feature of being from an Islam, rather than a Brit, and certainly discounts your view that Islam always includes armed struggle.

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  20. Scout said on June 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    brian stouder @ 16: Additionally, it’s been reported that while the murderer was holed up in the bathroom during the stand off he was checking facebook to see if anything had been posted about what was going on. So yeah, whatever else his motivation may have been, there was the element of infamy. So, I will not use his name.

    Apparently Dump was in Phoenix on Saturday and there were no incidents. Maybe it’s because it was hot enough to bake cookies on the sidewalk. My honey and I beat it out of town and spent the day in the relative cool of Flagstaff.

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  21. Danny said on June 20, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Brian, I tend to agree with Nancy and many of you that this guy was NOT a “Radical Islamic Terrorist.” My point is that no matter how many anecdotes we want to mention in regard to various crazy folks committing violent acts in the name of various deities, there is a difference between the Muslim tenet of jihad that lacks a corollary in most other major religions and has added potential to lend itself more to the addled reasonings of troubled minds.

    Sherri, regardless of whether either of these sources that you and I found are definitive, the facts remains that a large portion of the Islamic population does adhere to the militaristic interpretation of jihad. Whether right or wrong.

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  22. Danny said on June 20, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Meant to say, “difference to be had with”

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  23. alex said on June 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Onward Christian soldier-er-er-ers
    Marching as to war…

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  24. Jeff Borden said on June 20, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I’m with Mr. Souder. A lot of these killers are nihilists, whether they are murdering “baby killers” at abortion clinics” or patrons at a gay night club on “Latin night.” By all accounts, the creep in Orlando was not very knowledgeable about various Islamic radical factions, since he claimed allegiance to groups that hate each other.

    While I could not stomach watching Wayne LaPierre on “Face the Nation” yesterday, I’ve read the transcripts of his interview with John Dickerson this morning. In my view, his is the real face of terrorism. He is an absolute hysteric who claims were are on the cusp of being overwhelmed by radical Islamic killers and must arm ourselves to the teeth for the inevitable showdown. It’s this kind of rhetoric that generates growing gun sales in America even as fewer U.S. households contain guns. This is “Red Dawn” bullshit. The most powerful military in the world is going to be overrun by 30,000 douchebags with pickup trucks and RPGs, but like the plucky high school kids in that goofy ass movie, we citizens will mow them down with our trusty assault rifles.

    Meanwhile, another gun nut, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, was on CNN arguing for allowing guns in taverns and bars. When chided about the dangers of heavily armed people getting drunk in confined quarters, Pratt said the taverns would have to limit the amount of drinks they sell so no one would get hammered. The host literally laughed in his face.

    So, we have two ridiculous and repulsive figures fronting the gun movement and yet not a fking thing will change in Congress because both can write lots of nice, fat checks.

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  25. adrianne said on June 20, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Jeff, you’ll be happy to hear that the New York Daily News is conducting a full balls-on campaign against the NRA. They call Wayne LaPierre “Jihadi Wayne.”

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  26. Sherri said on June 20, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Danny, there are a lot of Muslims, and I don’t think it is a “fact” that a large portion adheres to a militaristic interpretation of jihad. Even if that were true, that is a long way from your first statement, which was that Muslim doctrine always included militaristic jihad.

    We have one of the largest mosques in the area in Redmond, and other than occasional issues about parking (and the occasional nutcase calling in threats, like happened after Orlando), they’re no different than any other house of worship in town. Well, check that; the occasional issues about parking make them like any other large house of worship.

    There are people who will combine political and religious reasons to use violence against others, and claim their holy text tells them so, and that is true of Islam and Christianity, but that doesn’t mean that Islam is uniquely militaristic. With Christianity’s history of the Crusades and Inquisition and forced conversion of Jews, it’s a bit much for Christians to call Muslims uniquely militaristic in doctrine.

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  27. nancy said on June 20, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    In Dearborn, where the Muslim population is vast, growing and energetically ambitious, I bet if you could hear all the words spoken in every private home, you’d hear, “You ARE going to medical school, habibi, and that’s the last I want to hear about majoring in comp lit!” way more than “Death to the infidel.”

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  28. Bitter Scribe said on June 20, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    This paranoia stuff is reminding me of “It Follows,” an indie horror flick that came out a couple of years ago and is now on cable. It’s about what you might call the ultimate sexual disease: a curse that is passed on through sex. Those left with the curse are plagued by demons that only they can see, who approach them slowly but relentlessly wherever they are, and who will kill them gruesomely if they catch up to them. I recommend it if you’re into that sort of movie.

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  29. Jeff Borden said on June 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Agree with Bitter Scribe. . .”It Follows” is a superior horror film. Very unnerving. . .and filmed in Detroit and its suburbs.

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  30. brian stouder said on June 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    In no particular order, scary movies that really affected me include The Birds, Alien (only the first one), and Jaws (I was a kiddo in Fort Wayne, a long way from any ocean… but still!).

    The Halloween movies, and Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (etc) never bugged me (way too predictable)

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  31. brian stouder said on June 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    …and indeed, Wizard of Oz pushes all the buttons and twists all the knobs – if you’re a younger person when you first see it

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  32. ROGirl said on June 20, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    I use Wikipedia a lot, but it is definitely not a definitive source.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 20, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I’m in a Super 8 hotel room on the mainland, after ten miles walking around a lovely island, eating fudge and trying to figure out why Visa has killed our credit card (yeah, I’ll bet the fact we don’t take enough vacation time makes this our fault). But I’m feeling detached and tired and tasteless enough to a) drink a gratuitously named adult beverage in a faux-brewpub and b) make a joke about nihilists and marmots. But I’ll stop at a).

    You’re welcome! If you’d like to come sit this evening of the longest day of the year on a beach by a long, long bridge and ID freighters, you really need to click this link:

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  34. Sherri said on June 20, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    The Seattle Times has done a video project with 18 people to ask them what they thought about various terms associated with race. It’s a fascinating look. I’m acquainted with one of the participants, the Rt Rev Greg Rickel, the bishop of our diocese.

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  35. David C. said on June 20, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    We had some good news today. Over the weekend, our 9 month old great-nephew received a liver transplant. He was born with a bile duct malformation that destroyed his liver before he was born. It was a 14 hour surgery, but he made it through. 24 hours post-surgery, his bilirubin is down from 14 to 4 and still falling. 1.5 is normal. So now, the poor little guy has a fighting chance.

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  36. alex said on June 20, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Sending good thoughts your way, David C!

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  37. Sherri said on June 20, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Good thoughts to David C and his great-nephew, and good thoughts to MichaelG, whose surgery was today, if I remember correctly.

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  38. Deborah said on June 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    David C, I know someone who’s daughter had that surgery for the same reason as an infant, the kid is like 15 or 16 now and gorgeous, so things can turn out all right. The miracles of modern science. Good luck to your great-grand nephew.

    I took 3 showers today, it was gruesomely hot and humid, it’s cooling off nicely now, tomorrow is going to be better day.

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  39. Jolene said on June 20, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I had heard the “10% Muslim doctors” phrase that Jeff mentioned too, but wasn’t greatly surprised. Here in the suburbs of the nation’s capital, any multi-faceted (i.e., involving doctors, nurses, and technicians (labs; imaging; respiratory, occupational, or physical therapy; etc.)) encounter in the health care system is like a stroll through the hallways of the United Nations.

    Have recently dealt with two doctors from Pakistan, another apparently (judging by name and lack of accent) an American Muslim, and two Hindus, one born in the U.S. and one in India. Have also been helped by people from Belarus, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nicaragua, and a few others whose national origins I didn’t catch.

    I told one of the Pakistani doctors that I felt bad for the Pakistanis who, I’m sure, are medically underserved and are losing some of their most talented people. He agreed with me that brain drain is a big problem. His father practices in Pakistan, and he routinely goes back to serve for a few weeks, but said that the absence of law and order makes it difficult to be the kind of doctor he wants to be and, I’m sure, to have the kind of life he wants to have.

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  40. Dorothy said on June 21, 2016 at 5:48 am

    David C. I’m so happy for your family and especially your great-nephew! My nephew Cam who is 21 now was born with cloudy corneas. He had corneal transplants when he was less than a year old and he is doing really well for his eyesight. Of course he wears glasses but the surgeries were very good successes. Sadly his eye surgeon died last week in a small plane crash in Pennsylvania. He’s in his 50’s so that meant he was 31 when he did Cam’s surgeries.

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  41. Jenine said on June 21, 2016 at 9:42 am

    David C. – So good to hear about the transplant going well.

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