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Thoughts on NFL star Sean Taylorís murders, reflections on the plight of young black men
Written by Chuck Hobbs
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Washington Redskins Safety Sean Taylorís tragic and senseless murder hit me harder than any other celebrity death, rendering me almost obsessed with the details of the investigation into this senseless tragedy. To my surprise, for the first time in my life, I have truly mourned the death of a complete stranger.
Maybe it was his age, 24 years old to be exact, that made me remember how bucolic life seemed when I was that age - when my only concerns were law school exams, not being murdered.
Perhaps it was remembering Taylorís fearless play at the University of Miami, where he dominated in-state rivals at the University of Florida and Florida State with his size, speed and seemingly effortless ability to make big plays.
Another reason could be that he hailed from Richmond Heights in Miami, my fatherís old neighborhood where many of my relatives remain.
Most likely, it is because his life was a paradox. Taylor, son of a police chief, was derided by the mainstream media a few years ago for brandishing a weapon against individuals he believed to have stolen his all-terrain vehicle. Despite the popular image of Taylor as a thug, those who knew him best described an extremely intelligent and loyal friend.
It is the latter that vexes me most, as I realize that Taylor will unfortunately be memorialized for a few puerile lapses in judgment as opposed to the man he was rapidly becoming. And yet, as frustrated as I am each time a news report recounts his past mistakes, I come back to the main point: he died, at home, in front of his fiancťe and infant daughter. Four young men are now in custody for his death, three of whom are young black men.
Taylorís death hurts because he is another young black man who will never grow to his potential because of someoneís selfish act. This reality warrants a sobering discussion of the obvious, that young black males often die because of other young black males.
It is easy to make excuses about this subject. For years, as young black socio-paths have turned our neighborhoods into combat zones and killing fields, too many black leaders have taken the path of blaming it on racism.
When rappers herald this evil behavior in their lyrics and videos, black academicians, eager to sell books, argue that this buffoonery is somehow an example of black culture. The question that begs asking is when did murder, prostitution and drug running become acceptable black culture?
There remains a morally vapid core of young people that seem to fear nothing.
I would be remiss if I did not state that early in my career as a defense attorney, I was appointed to represent several young men that had shot or attempted to shoot other black men.
In each instance, my client was a coward, a scared little boy trapped in an adultís body. If they were truly fearless, they would not fret the electric chair or life imprisonment. Yet, they cry real tears when these judgments are handed down. By then, it is too late. Which leads to my ultimate conclusion: we must return our young men to a deeper sense of community, of God, of value of self and for another manís life before time is up and there are no young men left to play in the NFL or to use their talents in any other way.
Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mayes, President Emeritus of Morehouse College, once wrote concerning the importance of time ďI only have a minute Ė sixty seconds in it. Forced upon me I did not choose it, but I know that I must use it. Suffer if I lose it Ė give account if I abuse it. Only a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.Ē
Sean Taylorís shooting took place in a matter of minutes. Had his killers pondered the consequences even for a moment, he may still be alive. Now, Taylor belongs to eternity. Those who killed him will soon belong to the penal system. And two or more black families have been destroyed because one young black male failed to make the right choice.
Chuck Hobbs, is a trial lawyer and partner in Hobbs & Richardson PLLC, Tallahassee. He is legal adviser to the Florida NAACP and a freelance columnist. Listen to the Chuck Hobbs Show on WTAL 1450 AM (Tallahassee) Wednesdays and Fridays at 1 pm (www.wtal1450.com). Reach him at [email protected]