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R.I.P Sean Taylor

November 27, 2007

From the Washington Post:Hp112707a_3

"MIAMI, Nov. 27 — Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died early
Tuesday from

the gunshot wound he suffered a day earlier in his Miami
home.

"He did not make it through the night," said Taylor’s attorney,
Richard Sharpstein, who called the incident "a ridiculous, unnecessary
tragedy."

I haven’t addressed sports here, and many of you who read this today, will equate this post to "sports", but you will be wrong.

I am a native Washingtonian, and therefore a life-long rabid Redskin fan. Sean Taylor was shaping up to be on my all time greats list.  He’s dead today at the age of 24. He’s dead today, a victim of senseless violence.  That for me is where the significance of his football career stops, and the significance of his life begins.

The fact is Sean, though a millionaire many times over, and a young man who seemed to have success overtaking him, has had his life snuffed out at the end of a gun.  Marian Wright Edelman once said:

"Guns and violence are in every nook and cranny of America. Many children can get a gun quicker than they can get a book out of the library. That puts us all at risk."

Guns and the violence that there use propagates even the playing field. When I first heard that Sean had been shot at his home in Miami FL, I got a sinking feeling, you know, that feeling you get when you enter a hospital room of a dying patient – it’s called despair. I hoped for his recovery, and news reports Monday seemed promising, but I still had that feeling of despair.  Couldn’t shake it.  I realized later why.  It is because that young black men between the ages of 15 to 24 are more likely to be the victim of the business end of a gun than graduate high school or go to college!  It is because the leading cause of death for black men age 15 to 24 is homocide, and I am sick of it!

It angers me that a 10 year old black boy can go out into his "hood" (his place of protection) and buy a gun as easy as he can buy a pack of Wrigley’s.  It angers me that my friends feel like they need to walk with their head on a "swivel" in our neighborhoods, because of all the violence. It angers me that in the most needed areas you can’t find any useful police presence unless it’s requested by a "white" or "affluent" (usually the terms can be interchanged) resident.

Today, the majority of Redskins fans will be affected by this loss of life, and many around the nation will feel this lost.  But I wonder how many of these folks will feel the tragedy of a life hardly lived being stopped by a gun or another form of violence tomorrow, when it’s not Sean Taylor, but Antwoine or Sundiata or Engozi or any other of the young black men who will die between the age of 18 to 25.  The truth is after the shock of a superstars life ending young is over, the rest of black America life or death won’t move the members of the "majority".  There is still no provision being made for our neighborhoods security. 

What will it take to change this nations attitude toward violence?  I don’t know.  Just today I heard reports of a Houston man who decided his property was worth more than the lives of the burglars who took it. Don’t get me wrong, I refuse to condone criminal behavior, and the fact is if my family were being menaced or endangered, I would by any means necessary destroy the person causing the problem. I believe in self-defense, but we as a country have a calloused view of life. It’s not something to be cherished and preserved, it is a commodity of sorts, and the privileged seem to dictate the terms of its worth.  But Marian Wright Edelman’s words of caution still ring true we are "all at risk". It’s time for the people to this country to stand for the preservation of life, not just at the point of conception, but in all its phases – and unless we understand that every life lost takes with it a piece of our collective humanity we will never truly be ONE NATION.   

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