Headline this Legacy

I have an admission to make.

Before last week, I had only a vague notion of who Sean Taylor was. I could not have guessed what team he played for, nor even that he was from South Florida. Not that I’m not sports-illiterate, just dispassionate. I’d take the symphony over a sports bar, the editorial page over the sports stats.

So now I know Sean Taylor, more about him than I’d ever imagined I’d know. I hurt for his family, admire the loyalty and strength his loved ones describe.

The reason I have come to know these things about him is pretty obvious. Taylor was a revered sports hero, and when something happens to a celebrity, the nation responds. His life and death are scrutinized, analyzed, eulogized, aggrandized 24/7.
The police chief comes out to publicly proclaim “we will find the killer”.
News managers cut into broadcasts with the slightest developments in the case.
Thousands (millions?) of people who never met him hold memorials, keep vigils, stand for moments of silence, send condolences.

A gunshot, a river of ink.

Which brings me to Jeffrey Johnson. That name ring a bell?
He’s not a pro ball player.
Not a celebrity.
He is – he was – a 16 year old high school honors student shot and killed in Liberty City last year while he was showing off the car he had earned for his good grades. Think he could’ve been a role model? I think so. Think his family is forever devastated? Safe bet.

Has his death stopped one soulless thug from getting, wielding, firing a gun? Nope.

I could’ve launched a hundred names of people whose lives ended suddenly, senselessly. Johnson’s name just came to mind first, of all the sudden, senseless, sad murders I’ve had occasion to cover. He should have been a celebrity. Could’ve been, eventually, maybe. But when he died he was just a high school kid from the inner city.

You know what I hope Sean Taylor’s legacy will be.

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5 Responses

  1. Sad truth… Just like that little girl who was killed by stray gunfire…

    Hey Glenna! You have the power of the tube! Why not remind us of these people??? This kid got a car for good grades – that meant something!
    These urban cockroaches would scatter if the light fell upon them – use what you have! Go after them! Remind their neighbors what makes a rough neighborhood rough! Remind them to pick up the phone and turn ’em in! They’d be doing us all a favor…

  2. All of us share in your heartfelt pain for this young man snuffed out by a bullet in the dark cold cruel of night. All of us know that the stars and celebs have the right to the headlines and by-lines, when their innocent lives are taken from them and from us. You should know that the ‘getting, wielding and firing…’ shall never cease, specially among the usually-treacherous thugs that skillfully managed to fire bullets which robbed the very life’s breath from this fine young gent, in the peace, calm and safeness of his own home.
    The world has come to know this is the way things are and shall always be; now that you feel that you know this bright young superstar more than you did, and he’s gone, you need to understand there will be more of these stories, not less………that’s really the ‘safe bet’ you allude to.

  3. Well said!

    There is a rampant amount of unnecessary gun violence every day in Miami (as opposed to necessary gun violence… i guess that’s a silly phrase)…

    But when it comes to a football player… It’s hard to downplay the emotional connection that fans form with their athletes. When you dedicate an absurd amount of time, emotional energy, and money to watching other people exercise… you form a bond.

    Sean Taylor happened to be a special athlete… And based on what i’ve seen from his friends, family, and teammates… He was also a special person.

    I’m very sad about his death.

    It’s amazing… For so long i watched the man put up amazing statistics… and now he is just a statistic.

  4. Well said! It’s something that happens in South Florida all to often.

  5. Well said. While Mr. Taylors death was all to tragic, I do not understand what this world is grounded by.
    Where does it say that I need a voyeuristic view into the life of Sean Taylor? I know he played football. I know he was a so called city kid making good, or making big. But what about little Jackie? Was he daddy or a football star? I venture to say the later. And that is the sad thing here another child without a father figure.

    By the Way….
    Why does crime stoppers or any other organization for that matter set different monetary values on human life? All life is equally valuable and precious to someone.

    Keep up the good work….

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