Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Why Must The Good Die Young . . .
[To spare those suffering from this all too recent loss, I'm changing their names.] Twenty year old John was found staggering along a highway ramp late one recent night. Police who found him thought he'd been a victim of a hit and run driver and called an ambulance. Doctors at the hospital soon discovered that John had been shot twice in the back of his head. He died two days later, never regaining consciousness. This young man was looking forward to starting a full-time job next Monday after working part-time so that he could raise his adored little girl. He had forgone his senior year of high school to care for his baby daughter while her mother finished her schooling. John then returned to graduate himself. According to John's mother, Mary with whom he and his daughter lived, he did everything for his baby girl. They were inseparable. The baby's mama, Ann, was a regular visitor and was always welcomed by John and his mother. She was younger than John, but trying to take part in her child's rearing. So far, authorities have not developed a motive for John's execution-style slaying. He wasn't into drugs or illegal activities -- just trying to finish his education, find work and support his daughter. Even if he had a history of misbehavior, he was clearly off that path and trying to be a responsible adult. This sort of story is all too common. It breaks my heart to think about the last thoughts of young people - so many of whom had rough beginnings - when their lives are suddenly taken from them. John was a role model in so many ways. He and his girlfriend may have been irresponsible in the heat of the moment, but when push came to shove, John embraced his role as father. Unlike other young men, he didn't simply walk away. Now his family and friends are left to grieve and his beloved daughter is fatherless. How does one explain to a toddler that she will never see her daddy again? What can the rest of us do to prevent this from happening to more young people? Guns and greed are two culprits in senseless killings. Stricter gun laws and equal and fair employment practices might help, but . . . jealousy, disrespect, prejudice, misunderstanding and hopelessness also play huge roles. I didn't know "John", but I'm familiar with another stupid, senseless killing. The brother of a friend of my husband's was shot dead by a young man who thought he'd been "dissed" when they bumped shoulders on a crowded sidewalk. Most of us would have accepted a mumbled "sorry" or "excuse me." Why couldn't that guy? What has given some the idea that they have a right to end another's life simply because they feel miffed?! Can't blame it all on TV, movies and video games. American society needs urgent attitude repairs.