Family struggles over senseless moped killing

As word of Brandon Whitby's death spread, the Godwin Heights community came together. Full Story
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Tammy T

United States

#62 Aug 24, 2008
1. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of this wonderful young man. His death was a senseless tragedy that should teach us to appreciate those we love and that sometimes bad things happen to good people for reasons we don't understand.
2. I want to thank the people who wrote comments here that were obviously from people who understood the big picture.
3. I know people who are close to Brandon's family and they are being hurt by some of the judgmental, narrow-minded and bigoted comments being relayed here. Please try to show some compassion and empathy for those who are grieving. Instead of being negative and shooting off at the mouth about something you know about half of the facts about, try to help. Try to comfort people who are hurting and offer to help in a cause that means something to you. Negativity breeds hate. If you canít be helpful or at least not hurtful, please have the human decency to keep it to yourself.
color

Wyoming, MI

#63 Aug 24, 2008
Jamie wrote:
Well, Leo, I don't have to call you racist, you made that clear yourself, but I will point out why.
First of all, this forum is for people trying to make sense of a terrible tragedy, but since you made such blanket stereotype comments, I will need to set you straight in order to let the truth be known about all of our students, including Brandon. I am sorry that you are an ignorant bigot. Since you are a Godwin graduate, I should correct you on your improper use of "their," the proper word would have been "there," and when you went THERE I am sure your white, racist parents would have been astonished at the diversity (we like to call it that instead of minorities, which is spelled with three i's, by the way) we have today. I assume your parents are racist, because that is how stereotypes perpetuate. They are passed down from generation to generation until someone intelligent enough can see the problems in this world are not caused by color, they are caused by poverty. When someone finally realizes that, then they are able to pass onto their children a respect for all people, which you seem to lack.
Saying that EVERYONE at Godwin wears their pants around their ankles is another blanket stereotype. This is a style trend that was started by celebrities, and although I don't like seeing "sagging," it is by no means an indication that a kid is a thug, or is in a gang. Drugs and gangs HAVE (have is the proper use of grammar here, not has) definitely not taken over the school, not sure where you got that information. My husband went to East Grand Rapids, and you should hear about the drug problems even a predominantly white district has (or at least had). SchoolS (it has an s at the end, it is plural) of choice is a program that allows kids to get out of schools like the kind you are talking about.
Yes, when I went to Godwin there was not as much diversity as there is now, but there were kids from all races and income levels. I attribute that diversity to my quick adaptation to the population of students at the University of Michigan where I went. Would you call Ann Arbor a ghetto? If you think that people's races are what signify a ghetto, than Ann Arbor must be one of the biggest ghettos around because there are fewer white people there than you would assume. Funny that the "gangsters" I went to college with are some of the top scientists, athletes, doctors, and lawyers in this country.
As for replacing teachers with security guards and police, I am not sure where you got that information either. My school is a safe place, and I, in no way, fear being "shot out in the back" if I discipline a student. Most of our students take very well to discipline, and most of our parents back us up on what we say. Go to a predominantly white school, and you don't see that as often. If a kid there gets disciplined, many times the administration will have the parents in the office that afternoon defending their child. I have seen it- I am not making an assumption.
Godwin Heights is NOT an inner city, ghetto school, and it is not going down the toilet. However, if we could flush ourselves away from people that believe the way you do, we would, gladly.
Very well said...You Go Girl! Thank you for your intelligence, and bravery.
jEn

Grand Haven, MI

#64 Aug 24, 2008
amber midd wrote:
ok my name is amber and i have known brandon for over 10 years and i LOVE him he was like a big brother to me and for you to sit there and say that is wrong....if you heard the garage door open wouldnt you go check it out and if you saw someone steeling your proberty wouldnt you run after to try to get it.....all i am saying is that think before you type!
<quoted text>
It sounds like Brandon heard the garage door open and saw that it was a little kid and thought that he could initially handle the situation himself never thinking that he would be shot in the process. This man is not to blame. IMHO, I blame the skank ho mother that allowed these youths to be out that late at night, big brother was teaching little brother the "way of life"
jEn

Grand Haven, MI

#65 Aug 24, 2008
Jamie wrote:
Well, Leo, I don't have to call you racist, you made that clear yourself, but I will point out why.
First of all, this forum is for people trying to make sense of a terrible tragedy, but since you made such blanket stereotype comments, I will need to set you straight in order to let the truth be known about all of our students, including Brandon. I am sorry that you are an ignorant bigot. Since you are a Godwin graduate, I should correct you on your improper use of "their," the proper word would have been "there," and when you went THERE I am sure your white, racist parents would have been astonished at the diversity (we like to call it that instead of minorities, which is spelled with three i's, by the way) we have today. I assume your parents are racist, because that is how stereotypes perpetuate. They are passed down from generation to generation until someone intelligent enough can see the problems in this world are not caused by color, they are caused by poverty. When someone finally realizes that, then they are able to pass onto their children a respect for all people, which you seem to lack.
Saying that EVERYONE at Godwin wears their pants around their ankles is another blanket stereotype. This is a style trend that was started by celebrities, and although I don't like seeing "sagging," it is by no means an indication that a kid is a thug, or is in a gang. Drugs and gangs HAVE (have is the proper use of grammar here, not has) definitely not taken over the school, not sure where you got that information. My husband went to East Grand Rapids, and you should hear about the drug problems even a predominantly white district has (or at least had). SchoolS (it has an s at the end, it is plural) of choice is a program that allows kids to get out of schools like the kind you are talking about.
Yes, when I went to Godwin there was not as much diversity as there is now, but there were kids from all races and income levels. I attribute that diversity to my quick adaptation to the population of students at the University of Michigan where I went. Would you call Ann Arbor a ghetto? If you think that people's races are what signify a ghetto, than Ann Arbor must be one of the biggest ghettos around because there are fewer white people there than you would assume. Funny that the "gangsters" I went to college with are some of the top scientists, athletes, doctors, and lawyers in this country.
As for replacing teachers with security guards and police, I am not sure where you got that information either. My school is a safe place, and I, in no way, fear being "shot out in the back" if I discipline a student. Most of our students take very well to discipline, and most of our parents back us up on what we say. Go to a predominantly white school, and you don't see that as often. If a kid there gets disciplined, many times the administration will have the parents in the office that afternoon defending their child. I have seen it- I am not making an assumption.
Godwin Heights is NOT an inner city, ghetto school, and it is not going down the toilet. However, if we could flush ourselves away from people that believe the way you do, we would, gladly.
Since when does it make you a racist for stating facts?

“LET'S GO RED WINGS!!”

Since: Aug 07

America

#66 Aug 24, 2008
saugatuck resident wrote:
<quoted text>
$10,000 worth of guns and the police had no desire to get them off the street or find who did it? huh. something tells me either your leads weren't that solid or there is more to your story.
My post said guns and other items (ammo, computers, coins, clothes, etc.) but some of the guns were collector's items, so they were worth alot. I thought it was crazy, too, cause you'd think they wouldn't want the guns on the street, but there's really not any more to the story, except the cops didn't think that over 30 calls (when my dad was on vacation) from the same house on the caller ID was not a clue, I guess. They at least let him file a report so he could send a claim to his insurance co.

“LET'S GO RED WINGS!!”

Since: Aug 07

America

#67 Aug 24, 2008
Wyoming Resident wrote:
<quoted text>
Liar! GR Cops would have followed up on anything that sounded like a legit report. What's up with your dad that he has ten thousand in guns? Who does he hang with that would have stolen them? Sounds like Daddy isn't any angel. If I were a cop that sure would have raised a red flag with me!!!! Their job is to serve and protect, not to walk into a battle zone with a bunch of armed nut cases.
Please read my previous post. Then I will accept your appology.
Hope

United States

#68 Aug 25, 2008
In Memory of Brandon-------John:14 1-6 .."Do not let your hearts be troubled.Believe in God,believe also in me.In my Fathers house{Heaven} there are many dwelling places.If it were not so,would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you,I will come again,and will take you to myself,so that where I am,there you may be also.And you know the way to the place where I am going."Thomas said to him,"Lord,we do not know where you are going.How can we know the way?"Jesus said to him,"I am the way,and the truth,and the Life.No one comes to the Father except through me." Prayers and Peace to Brandons family and his "little ones".God Bless.
amber midd

Saint Charles, IL

#69 Aug 25, 2008
i cant believe that people are blaming brandon for this i went to his funeral and i saw all of the people he touch and you guys can all shuv it cause brandon was like a big brother i have known him since i was like 1 and now i am 14 it was the hardest thing to see him there in his coffin and for people to say that he sould of left it to the police that is bull cause i would have done the same thing.....this story just shows that brandon should not have died not anything else he was just chasing a 11 year old boy not thinking anything of it.....if anyone has anything to say say it to me because everyone needs to get a grip on themselfs if there is anyone to blame you should blame the mom of those stupid boys....she has no control of those kids......quit putting my brother down (patrick middleton) thank you for those kind words from all of the people who actually do care.....
Hope

United States

#70 Aug 25, 2008
Yes,I do agree with you amber.I do believe that the blame falls on the parents of the way out of control"CHILDREN"The y "as parents'should have known that there was a HUGE problem with their sons[that they shouldnt have had in the first place.they seem as tho they didnt give a shit what they were doing,or where they were at that time in the morning.wee hours.]if they did care they should have known that they are trouble to begin with.and got them help from some source.Maybe the parents are into "drugs" and were "blind,"and just let them run and do whatever.Bad parents.Some parents dont deserve the pleasure of having children..And why on earth arent those children in custity yet?someone has to know something by now..Question is still...where in the world did those children get access to A GUN AND BULLETS???they are suppose to be stored separate from each other anyway.why doesnt someone report their gun missing?the kids are much too young to buy one..It is just a shame that Brandon had to leave this world the way he did.My heart also breaks,and I know that I have never met your brother and friend.Prayers to your family at this time.I cant imagine what you are going through.I care.and there are others that care.Everyone on this site is not Bad.Peace to you.Take care honey.
Emily

Grand Rapids, MI

#71 Aug 25, 2008
Why does everyone have to give their "opinion" when something happens? Why not just give your condolences to the family of the victim, state how terrible this is to happen, anywhere, let alone to a good person, and leave it at that? Why do you all have so much time on your hands to get into bickering on Wood TV 8 comments forum (hahahaha) about your opinions. Goodness. Have a little respect for the family of the victim here.
fruitcake

United States

#72 Aug 25, 2008
my condolences to the family.I dont have alot of time.just took the time to let you know someone cares.If nothing at all was on here,then you would wonder.
Sandie

United States

#73 Aug 25, 2008
May God comfort your family.Please give this family the strength to carry on.Brandon will always be in your hearts FOREVER!
Godwin Graduate 2004

Kalamazoo, MI

#74 Aug 26, 2008
A agree with you Jane, many of us got a reputation because of what people say. But Godwin Heights is all about something else, knowing what we have and how important it is. We all know the good from the bad. In good times and bad times, we are always together and show that support. As we have seen one of the many different ways it can be demonstrated. After saying this, I have some words for my friend B: I send my condolenses to Brandon's family and friends in these difficult times. He was a good person, always had a smile and got along with everyone. I graduated with Brandon, we were Godwin Heights class of 2004. He will always be missed by many of us. May you rest in piece Brandon.
Jamie wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for what you said, as well. I love the kids I teach, and most of them live in or around the neighborhood in question. Godwin gets a bad reputation sometimes, but my kids have some of the biggest hearts out there. They know what is really important in life....that it is not what you have, but who you have (family and friends). This was displayed perfectly at the car wash that was given to raise money for the family. I pulled up by the school I went to for 13 years, and now teach at, and I saw the huge outpouring of emotion and the banding together of a community, and I thought, "This is what Godwin is all about, and this is how special Brandon truly was."
I cant believe it

United States

#75 Aug 28, 2008
WTF wrote:
Are we joking here. No parent ever plans on buring a child. That would be the most horrific thing to do, speaking as a father of 2 children. I can replace a moped, bike, or whatever material item that is gone. I can never replace a child. My thoughts go out to the parents of this young man. I am saddened for the whole family. We can only hope the justice system will work, usually not to the extent we hope for, but something to set an example. Abother little note, what determines a "hood"? I live in Wayland, a very rural area and we have little so call it "slums and hoods". We also have a crime rate. It happens everywhere.
I was completely shocked....my heart and prayers go out to the Whitby family.
ScooterClub

Detroit, MI

#76 Feb 7, 2009
Jamie wrote:
Let me ENLIGHTEN you, CES, Maybe you should learn a little more about the story before you ask why he wasn't with his wife and kids. I teach in the school district Brandon went to (I also went there), and he was an excellent kid, and an excellent father. He wouldn't hurt a fly. He comes from a great family, and he had every right to protect his property. Maybe you should go to what you call the 'hood and realize that the people who live there are hard working and respectable for the most part. Just because a few bad apples are out there, doesn't mean you can assume a whole neighborhood is what you call 'hood. Brandon was home, and some kid came onto his property and took his belongings. It was a senseless death, and maybe because I am not from your non-'hood I don't understand why someone would ever blame the victim.
Why are you gettin al angry at someone for axin a legitimate question?
ScooterClub

Detroit, MI

#77 Feb 7, 2009
john higgs wrote:
mopeds are sweet
I respectfully disagree with you John. I'm in Mayor Heartwells camp on this one. He thinks they're gay.
mom of murder victim

Byron Center, MI

#78 Mar 11, 2013
CES wrote:
Another wasted life. It's hard for those of us who don't live in the 'hood to understand how a 22 year old father of two can't simply call the police if he knows who the people are who stole his moped. Someone enlighten me please why, at 11 or 12 at night he's not at home with his wife and children? Please don't take my comments as sarcastic racism.....really, I want to understand this.
whAts so sad that my son turns into the criminal in the eyes of IGNORANCE..
he does have a family.hardworker.good good man BUT NO EXPLANATION NECESSARY IN THE BEAUTIFUL MAN HE IS..
regardless his life was not meant to be taken by another..NEVER!
does anyone have that right..
I surely hope that if you ever or a family member of yours were ever put in a situation that you react upon that bad circumstances arise from that you would rethink making such ignorant comments. maybe keeping your thoughts to yourself wouldve been a WISER CHOICE
mom of murder victim

Byron Center, MI

#79 Mar 11, 2013
another BC parent wrote:
<quoted text> I understand your frustration but seriously think about this...Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan. We are a mini Detroit. The Police have more important matters to tend to... If you don't believe me....buy a police scanner. Yes, do I feel for this young father trying to get his moped back? ABSOLUTLY. But, he also chose to take matters into his own hands. How many times do you hear law enforcement tell you not to do that? You asked "what are we citizens supposed to do?" What about putting your bikes or mopeds away at night? This is called....COMMON SENSE. You could live in the safest neighborhood and there will always be someone out there that might decide to take your bike or moped for a ride or steal it. And...possibly not return it. As far as finger prints off a bike or moped....get real. Just be thankful all they stole was materialistic and not your child.
Sorry to sound a little cold, but do you realize that there are people out there that have been looking for their children for many many years...please visit www.missingkids.com and your lost bike won't seem so significant anymore.
My Son Was LOoking FOR HIS BIKE AND FOUND AN 11YEAR OLD BOY WITH IT. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT HE FELT THREATENED BY THIS LITTLE BOY? THIS LITTLE BOY CAME TO MY SONS HOUSE NUMEROUS TIMES TO JUMP ON HIS TRAMPOLINE..TO EAT food FROM HIS GRILL..TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES.. HE TURNED OUT TO BE A LITTLE PUNK... SADLY..I AM STILL NOT SURE WHERE THIS LITTLE BOY IS TO THIS DAY OR IF HE HAS EVEN HAD TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR CAUSING THIS WHOLE SENSELESS SITUATION THAT TOOK MY SONS LIFE..THAT IS BETWEEN HIM AND THE GOOD LORD... MY SON KNEW THIS BOY SO OF COURSE HE DIDNT FEEL THREATENED. PLEASE PEOPLE YOU DONT KNOW THE WHOLE STORY. YOU ONLY KNOW WHAT the PRESS ALLOWS YOU TO KNOW... MY SON IS "PERFECT" IN MY EYES OF COURSE but HE IS NO LONGER HERE FOR ME..I HAVE A HOLE IN MY HEART..MY LIFE WILL NEVER EVER BE THE SAME...IT ENDED AUGUST 21ST 2008...HIS TWO SONS HAVE NO DAD..HIS TWO BROTHERS HAVE NO BROTHER TO SHARE LIFE EXPERIENCES WITH...NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TAKE THAT FROM US...REGARDLESS..
mom of murder victim

Byron Center, MI

#80 Mar 11, 2013
StarLight wrote:
Your family is in our deepest thoughts and we are always praying for you since we heard about this terrible tragedy.For some much needed comfort please read:PSALMS 139,in the Greatest book ever written*The HolyBible*..May you find comfort and strength from God himself and your family and friends and people that you have never met before,but care enough to comment.There should be only possitive posts on here.Negative ones do not help anything.just brings more grief.Remember that Brandons family is reading this..Please.
thank you so much
mom

Byron Center, MI

#81 Mar 11, 2013
Sandie wrote:
Take Heart----The one that you have Loved and lost will always be with you,in memory and in prayer.....For the Love between you both is a Spiritual Bond that death can not sever...As impossible as it may seem right now,a time will come when you are able to think of Brandon,and feel the SACRED CONNECTION between him and you,without the pain and emtiness you feel right now.A time will come when you will want to laugh and Live...Please,Let yourselves Heal--your own time and in your own way.Peace Be With Your Family.Especially Brandons children.
thank you for that....means so much to hear..

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