Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Saddened...but not shocked...

Many people will hate me for this post. Consider this news byte from almost a year ago: "Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed early Monday when his white stretch Hummer was sprayed by bullets after a nightclub dispute following a New Year's Eve party.
Police have no motive and no indication the 24-year-old player was targeted in the drive-by shooting of the limousine. The burst of violence occurred hours after the
Broncos were eliminated from playoff contention.
'All of us are devastated by this tragedy,' Broncos owner
Pat Bowlen said in a statement. 'To lose a young player, and more important, a great young man such as Darrent Williams, is incomprehensible. To lose him in such a senseless manner as this is beyond words.'"

Yep...it's happened again. I won't go into the details of Sean Taylor's death, and nor, thanks to the Darrent Williams shooting, do I need to rehash statements on the AP wire from Joe Gibbs, he of a different solar system than Sean's, or from Dan Synder, owner from Hell and the spoiled brat who plays fantasy football with real people. Pat Bowlen voiced the usual heartfelt and quasi-heartfelt PR flack-scribed statments last January. Skins fans are talking, gossiping...a few are weeping. Many in the DC area are shaking their heads as with ay pointless death, and then go about their business. So many pointless deaths, really. Or else they couldn't give a crap, or don't even understand "American fute-bol." I will, however, paraphrase something I heard Mike Wilbon of the Washington Post say this morning as I rolled up US29 in Silver Spring, escorting my wife to our baby-making check-up. Yep...life goes on. I'm a big fan of Wilbon's--he's one of the few faces of color in a newsroom, period, not to mention in print sportswriting. We run in the same bourgies-coming-of-age in the 80s circles/former "Gold Coast" 16th Street NW kiddies/Jack and Jill prisoners-of-war though he never seems to come to my book signings. Too busy I guess. Wilbon said he was saddened by what happened to Sean. His chest was sinking as he spoke, I could hear it in his voice. But then he said he wasn't "shocked." He was devasted, shocked, when Lenny Bias died. I recall that tragedy vividly, and Jerry Bias, Len's cousin whom Len treated as a little brother, was friends with my own brother. Somehow, to both Wilbon and I, and literally millions of folks, Lenny's death was a shock. As a Terrapin, Lenny gave no indication of drug use or abuse. He grew up in silent pain, but not in an atmosphere of violence. As for Sean, well...

...I'll get to the point, and channel Wilbon. This was no "random burglary." Repeat: this was no random burglary. Every cop or fed I knew from my USDOJ days says something smells wrong. Housebreaking is usually not a crime of violence--even in South Freaking Florida. Either it's a crackhead who runs scared, or a professional who doesn't want a confrontation. Or...someone who knows you, or knows of you through your "boys." Or has a beef with you. Pedro Taylor, Sean's dad was once police chief of Florida City. Settling a beef with Pedro? Unh-unh. Something less cliche, and sadder. Example. I knew a police detective captain in Detroit who's son and nephew ran with the same thugs he was trying to jail. My fellow Princetonian and PG County States Attorney Glenn Ivey has lamented how many criminals and "the game" or"the life" wannabee fools his office prosecutes are from two-parent households where both parents hold down salaries that will ensure at least a roof and a somewhat comfortable life. You see where I'm going? You see where Wilbon was headed? Sean was immature, Sean could be trouble. Sean was in indeed in trouble, many times. He couldn't keep a gun for protection because of the knuckleheaded things he did. He didn't have a home alarm despite having a child sleeping in the house (I guess you could call it a mansion). Sean appeared to like to hang, a la Ray Lewis (pre-stabbing) with the wrong people, past people, feeding off the supposed energy of da fellaz, of their rides, of bravado and money and fathering kids out of wedlock with golddigging girls hardly more mature than little girls, and chasing that false high that comes from indirectly sticking it in Mr. Charlie's eye. The same Mr. Charlie who wants you to play football for his prep school, then his college, but doesn't want you around his daughter, and definitely doesn't a young black man admitted to those schools based on grades and scores and race, rather than running the 40 in lightening speed or featuring a Spider Man-like six foot verticial jump. That kind of affirmative action's cool with the majority, right? And God forbid anyone like Sean or a young black man with the scores and education own a football team. Never mind whiteboy affirmative action, right? I mean, look at at Dan Snyder. Or the President of the United States...
...pardon the digression. I'm saddened. Not shocked. But saddened. I digress when I'm sad. Sean Taylor was just as much a victim of a mindset, an outlook, as he was a bullet. He wasn't a thug or a criminal. But such were the asteroids in his small solar system, and you can't just say it's a Florida thing. A year ago Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker said the same of his murdered teammate. Murdered like so many of our young men and so no, we aren't shocked anymore, let alone outraged. I know the details will come out sooner or later and prove me right. I think men of Joe Gibbs' archaic mindset will utterly misunderstand it. Men of Snyder's ilk will utterly spin and then punt it. That's sad. Deeply, oppressively sad.


Pebbles Flintstone said...

I echo your sentiments as I was also saddened but not shocked. What is the connection between our young black athletes, guns and violence? What happens to the goal? The work involved, the talent that was obviously nurtured and led to the dream of becoming a top athlete? Is it just wreckless youth and the fact that these are young men with money to burn and the bravado to flaunt it? I am not blaming Sean Taylor for his own death, but I am sick at the thought that another young life has been needlessly snuffed out. We also must not forget that there are many other young lives that are needlessly snuffed out everyday, and we don't hear about it. They too may have been full of promise for a great future but never got the chance.

Anonymous said...

Hey -- if you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas. I don't care how much money you make!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, that's cold and uncalled for. I still hurt for Darrent and his family (as a loyal Broncos fan). However I understand my boy Nat Turner's angle here. I'm not feeling Wilbon's Len Bias analogy. Again, I understand it's use. I just don't think it's apt. Trust me, this is big news here on the Left Coast as well.

tchaka owen said...

I'm not sure if I fully understand or agree (or disagree) with the summary of your post. I'm very saddened and somewhat shocked, but I probably shouldn't feel the latter because I live in Miami and continuously read of the violence that goes on. It's not like back in DC. There it's isolated to parts of SE DC, bits of NE and a tad of PG County. Here it runs through a lot of Miami-Dade and Broward. Police are fair game too. I never really worried before moving to South Florida, now I'm a bit more concerned.

As for the Sean Taylor "thug angle", I too feel it's entirely plausible that this is something from the past that's the impetus for the shooting. I do want to caution you that the Sean Taylor you described in the blog is pre-May 2006. The version that was born that month was a new person, one that you'd be proud to have as a friend, teammate, father, sibling, etc.

May he Rest In Peace.

Liz Dwyer said...

I feel terrible for his family. I can't really speculate about what the man may have been involved in. Remember Andrew Cunanan shooting Gianni Versace and all those other peopel? Who would have thought that Versace would go down like that? Some might have blamed Versace's lifestyle on that.

Maybe it'll come out that this young man knew his killer. Maybe not. Either way, it's still a tragedy.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Of course I don't know Sean but from what I read he was turning his life around after the birth of his first child.

Something about this crime doesn't seem random. There are home invasion robberies here on the left coast all the time but didn't someone break in a month ago and leave a knife on his bed? What is that about?!

My heart really goes out to his family, friends and teammates. He was ony 24.

Anonymous said...

Terrible tragedy but you're right. If if were Darrell Green back in the day, yes I'd be shocked. But somehow this makes you shake your head and perhaps sigh sadly, but you aren't shocked. On the other hand, perhaps that is our fault for being so callous?

Angelica said...

While I do believe that you 'attract' what you 'are'. An untimely demise is no reason to be so callous. (The dog : to : flea comment)

In any case, it is sad. We are disillusioned and the cycle repeats itself.

I for one liked the commentary. Went off on a few tangents, but who doesn't!

Loppy said...

I simply cannot understand why Americans feel that the "leet," be it an athlete, an actor, or whatever of any color, are above the basic human rules of conduct. I am saddened too, and not shocked, when young lives that have been nurtured for all the wrong reasons then allowed to rot from the inside out end in death, destruction, in ruin. But yes, if you lie with the dogs you'll get fleas too. That wasn't a cold statement. It is a fact. We just saw it happen again. People without color don't understand the mindset of today's young people of color. They're not your granddad's black folks here: this generation of young black (African-American or whatever appellation they choose to describe themselves) are tremendously different from the apogee to the perigee. Would that all these wasted young lives could have been like the accomplished, flourishing young people of color that I know.

Anonymous said...

Our mother, God rest her soul, used to tell us that Black people are like crabs. Most are too dumb to figure out when they are about to be dropped in a pot of boiling water and Old Bay seasoning. Once the scalding begins, there are always a few crabs who desperately claw and scrap up the sides trying to escape. They would probably make it...except for the fact that the crabs below are grabbing their legs. Question...are these weaker crabs trying to escape on the strength of the other? Or are they simply pulling him back down so he can suffer the same fate? As a child, I didn't understand this analogy. As an adult, I know the painful truth all too well.

Mes Deux Cents said...


Well according to news reports I saw this morning it was random. The four men they have in custody told police they didn't know who lived there. They thought that no one was home.

So it seems that even when a Black person, especially a Black man is robbed and murdered at random, some how he is responsible.

Black self-hatred is really an amazing thing.

Anonymous said...

You're mistaken. They did know him--dating family members, and more "quasi-entourage" folks. So YES--stop pulling out this retarded "self hatred" card and start seeing assigning responsibility where it deserves to be, Mes Duex Cents!

Anonymous said...

why did those four guys feel they had a right to take what they wanted from sean?

So what he was once " so called Im soo hood"? So what he hung out on the wrong side of the track b/4 ? When you ( general) were young , you never dabbled in the wrong areas . Aren't our lives shaped /now based off of our experiences ? You can't fault sean taylor for enjoying his youth !

I imagine it was tough being the son of such a high ranking law official , while listening to jay z , or playing grand theft auto ... We make them , so how can we fault them !! He was a jock , he was popular, why wouldn't he be so hood>>>

Just recently my employee was a victim of a crime/ a hold up , the detective who came by , said crime is not what it used to be , rob u take your money , and if you had nothing , the crooks will leave ., Now they just shoot you whether you have or don't have . This is the life we are living , this is the people we make ....
be afraid , because these young ones growing up now lets see they can admire

m&m , because he killed his girlfriend and put her in a trunk of a care that he pushed in the river ....
fifty scents because he got shot with nine bullets , and now he runs ny
paris hilton who spreads her legs where ever she goes
supahead , because she is the best dick sucker >
and the list goes on ... by the time i am 65 i better be we might be hiring private security ///

Anonymous said...

typo above ^^^^^
by the time i am 65 , we will probably have to hire private armed security .

Unknown said...

All of us are devastated by this tragedy. To lose a young player, and more important, a great young man such as Darrent Williams, is incomprehensible. To lose him in such a senseless manner as this is beyond words. My deepest feelings, all my thoughts and prayers, go out to Darrent’s mother and family.
Such a wild killing.. to be shot in own Hummer limo.. I have no words..
Darrent was a wonderful young man, and his passing is a great loss for his family, the Broncos and the city.

tchaka owen said...

Chris, I want to correct myself from my earlier post. What I should have written is that Sean Taylor is not the thug that the media made him out to be. After listening to and reading a lot after his death - particularly on local (as you know, local to me is Miami), I came to realize that he was a victim of media sensationalization. His lone crime being probation for flashing a gun at a person he thought had stolen two vehicles from him. That's it. For some reason he was made to seem like a really bad guy. Cut through all the fat and you'll have a guy who got probation and community service for doing something that many of us likely would have done too.

gibber said...

I know I'm late to this post, but now that the dust has settled, some people should be ashamed of how quickly they rushed to judgment. They assumed this HAD to be his fault some how. Turns out, it was a crime of opportunity. One of these fools dated his 1/2 sister and thought they could break in when Sean wasn't there. Except he was. Sean, as far as I know, was never in jail, was an all star in college, went to a prep school in high school, didn't do drugs, and had one small charge of brandishing a weapon. Great behavior? NO, but a thug? Hardly. Someone who ran with a bad crowd? Apparently not. Someone who deserved it? How heartless. We are SO quick to judge.

God rest his soul and may GOD help our young black men who think it is ok to take what isn't yours, and kill those who get in your way. What the hell is wrong with these people!!

Anonymous said...

Lenny Bias. Now that is sad. Did you guys know his little brother too like his cousin? He was killed ina robbery in the PG Mall parking lot shorrtly after his brother OD'd. I can't imaine what their mom must have gone through.

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