Herbert Lasean "Sluggo" Cleaves, Jr.
Herbert "Sluggo" Cleaves, Jr. was born March 30, 1973, and died February 18, 2001, a victim of gun violence. He was twenty-seven, and the oldest child of two of my best friends from Flint, Herb and Fran Cleaves.

Herbert was academically and athletically gifted from an early age. Throughout his school years, he was in advanced classes, and excelled in basketball, soccer, and football. At Flint Northern High School, he was a standout football player. Herbert was a member of the NAACP Youth Council. He had a deep spiritual relationship with God, and attended services at Charity United Methodist Church in Flint. Herbert had tremendous love and respect for his family and friends.

While standing on a friend's porch in Flint early on the morning of February 18, 2001, Herbert was shot in the stomach in a drive-by shooting. He died soon after at an area hospital. His life ended far too early, tragically and unnecessarily, another victim of gun violence and life in one of the nation's poorest cities---Flint, Michigan.

John Alberts
John Alberts was the sound designer and mixer for much of my work in the past decade, from TV Nation and the Awful Truth to the Big One. He had also been hired to do the sound work on "Bowling For Columbine" but sadly ended his life with a gun in January 2001. He was brilliant, funny, and one of our longtime friends and co-conspirators. He is sorely missed by all of us.


Photo of Laura Ligon WilcoxLaura Ligon Wilcox
Written by her parents, Nick and Amanda Wilcox

Laura Wilcox was born on March 5, 1981, and died January 10, 2001, a victim of handgun violence. She was nineteen.

Laura had extraordinary capabilities. She was an outstanding student, graduating as high school valedictorian and was at the time of her death a sophomore at Haverford College, where she was pursuing a dual major in history and political science. She was extremely organized, disciplined and motivated. Couple these traits with her positive energy and she was a natural leader. Throughout her childhood and teen years, Laura was actively involved in extracurricular activities. She served on student government for many years and was planning her campaign for student body president when she died. Laura had unlimited possibilities and the brightest of prospects.

Her outer beauty was matched by her inner beauty. She possessed a strong sense of values and always treated others with encouragement, respect, and kindness. Laura wanted to make a positive difference in the world. Her life was witness to her beliefs, as she touched and inspired the lives of those around her.

Laura was working for a few days during her Christmas break at a county behavioral health clinic. Laura's life ended, and the lives of many others were forever changed, when a severely mentally ill patient, who was known by many to be in possession of an arsenal of firearms, appeared at the reception window for a regularly scheduled appointment and shot Laura four times with a semi-automatic handgun. When the rampage ended at the clinic, and at a nearby restaurant, Laura and two others lay dead and three were severely injured.

After her death, her college professor wrote the following words, "Laura cared deeply about issues; she wanted to learn in order to make a difference. She was the best of the best. In Laura's nineteen years, she accomplished more than most of us will manage in fifty. We have been transformed by her. Her contributions to campus life, academic and social, her ideals and her dreams are an inspiration to us all. We need to promise ourselves to live up to Laura's ideals, to remind ourselves of, and redouble our commitment to the goals of social justice and service that Laura embraced so wholeheartedly. I assure you that I will do my best as an educator, and as a parent, to uphold Laura's legacy." We must all uphold Laura‚s legacy as we work toward a just and safer world.