Okay, this was not the topic I was planning on for this week, but events occurred that I feel should not be ignored. I’m talking about three completely senseless deaths and all the hype surrounding each.
If you have not heard about the police shooting of Michael Brown by now, odds are you do not have a Facebook account nor do you own a television. I rarely watch TV unless it’s something recorded and I still managed to come across the story on there.
I’m not certain of all the details, and don’t really have a need to know, but apparently Michael Brown was shot by police. He was unarmed and witnesses have reported Brown was assaulted and shot by the officer. Of course, the officer claims the boy was going after his gun, but these are details to be sorted out later. The point I want to make is, this was a senseless act. There is no reason for this young man to be dead right now.
Either Michael Brown was acting out or the officer massively overstepped his bounds. Either way, it does not sound as though deadly force was warranted. But, what is even more disturbing is the reaction. A violent act does not justify a free-for-all on society as a whole. What did a convenience store owner do to deserve having the store windows shattered and most of the merchandise stolen? Did the owner or one of the clerks have anything to do with Michael Brown’s death?
I was fortunate enough to be out of the country when the Rodney King verdict was handed down, but I heard all about it when I returned, and this sounds freakishly similar. I, for one, will withhold judgement and let the legal system work as it is designed. And, as we will see from the next two examples, people often react completely inappropriately.
Kevin Ward Jr.
Don’t know who that is? You still wouldn’t if he had not been run over and killed by NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart. The incident occurred on Saturday night, August 14th, 2014, only a few days ago at the time of this writing.
In case you didn’t see any of the more than half million posts in one day on Facebook about this, here’s the basics. Mr. Ward was outside Stewart in a corner and hit the outside retaining wall causing him to spin around. His car stopped backward on the track with a flat right rear tire. This happens at least a handful of times at each of these events, but things changed when the young man decided to exit his car and express his anger toward the senior driver.
At night, dressed almost entirely in black, and on a dark surface, the 21 year old thought it would be a good idea to walk out in front of a group of cars. Even under caution as they were, these cars are still driving around 40 MPH. This proved to be a fatal decision when the right rear tire of Stewart’s car hit the young man, knocking him off his feet and carrying him about 20 feet to where his lifeless body crumpled to the dirt.
Many were quick to say it was intentional, but once the facts are known, there is no way anyone can reasonably come to that conclusion. Regardless, the Ward family has suffered a great loss, and Stewart has to live with the fact that his actions, albeit accidental, caused the death of another person. I wouldn’t want to be in either position.
And lastly, the king of improv himself, Robin Williams died this week from an apparent suicide. Who would have guessed that one of the funniest men alive would have been that emotionally disturbed.
Again, social media is exploding over this story, and rightfully so. It was a shock to us all. Many of us grew up watching him. I still remember him on Mork and Mindy. There have been tons of pictures, videos, people sharing their favorite Robin Williams films and quotes and other various remembrances. I even shared a post to my wall that read, “Nanu nanu. RIP to a funny guy Mr. Robin Williams.”
One person I saw, however, had to go and use the word “tragic”, and THAT is where I draw the line. I hate it for his family, and to be honest, I’m saddened by his passing myself, but do NOT try to tell me that someone killing himself is tragic. I have had two family members do this, and the only thing tragic is the people who are left to wonder what they might have been able to do to prevent it.
These are three very sad stories, each in their own way. My sincere hope for all involved is that they may find peace amongst the chaos.
I’ll pray for Mike Brown’s family as well as the officer and his family and the many other victims of the senseless violence that has followed.
I’ll pray for the Ward family as they cope with their loss as I will for Tony and the other competitors and fans who were affected by this sad event.
And finally, I pray for Robin Williams’ family and friends as well as for all the many fans, like myself, who took his passing rather rough. The world got a little less funny.
My heart breaks for you all.