"Sean Taylor's death wasn't random."
That is how ESPN.com's Jemele Hill opens her commentary on the murder of Washington Redskins' safety Sean Taylor, who died this morning at the tender age of 24. In her column, Hill makes several salient points on "American problem" (as opposed to simply a "racial" problem) represented by the violent death of yet another young black man.
After noting that murder is the leading cause of death for black males aged 15-24 (Sean Taylor's demographic), she calls this "an epidemic more lethal and closer than any war overseas, or any boogeyman terrorist we can unearth or create."
I have not yet been able to process this most recent death in the stream of carnage that characterizes life in the land of guns. I have not yet been able to weave it neatly into a narrative. Nor have I yet been able (or, perhaps, willing) to wrestle with the fact that Taylor's death seems somehow so much more tragic than the countless deaths of more anonymous young black men.
But, in a country where black men are 6 times more likely to be murdered than white men, I have to agree with Hill that this, yet another killing of a young black man, wasn't random.
Do yourself a favor and check out Hill's column.
Edited to add: 12-7-07:
I just read this column by Kevin Blackistone, which is perhaps even more worthwhile than Hill's reflections. Here is a sample quote:
According to most recent disseminated data by the Center for Disease Control, Taylor and Spicer will be two of roughly 4,000 black homicide victims in the country this year killed by guns. Most, of course, won't be a pro athlete like Taylor but an everyman like Spicer.
It didn't matter if they were rich or working-class, went to college or dropped out of high school, lived in a near million dollar home with a remote control gate or in mom's apartment in a tough quarter of town. It didn’t matter if one was strapping, strong and fast as the wind and the other was more like everyone else.
It didn't matter if they were famous or known to only a few. It didn't matter if they were living their dreams or still chasing them. They didn't escape the pathology.
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