Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dying For The Sake Of Being Dead

I made an agreement with my blogging inner circle that I was not going to say anything about the Steve McNair story. I'm going against that agreement because with every passing day that this story has been in the news it’s getting to me more and more. I think it's bothering me far more than Michael Jackson's death ever could have. It's depressing me and I need to get it off my chest. Steve McNair was only a year older than me. That means that we grew up at the same time. At 36 years old with all the things he had going for him in his life he was killed and he really didn't have to. This morning when I was listening to the circumstances that led to his death, I couldn't help think about all the people I know under the age of 40 that are not here anymore and there is no real reason for it.

I want someone to do the research on this. Let's take a break from worrying about police brutality or what part of Africa our DNA comes from. Let’s get all the doctors and researchers together, go through the files in every major American city and find out how many young black men have been murdered for reasons not worthy of death. We haven't had any revolutions for freedom. There haven't more than a few stories of young men dying fighting off the KKK when they tried to burn their house down. I'm sure there have been some brothers who have been killed trying to protect their families but it hasn't been hundreds of them. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed at the age of 39 but he was putting his safety on the line for us all. Malcolm X was also 39 when he was assassinated. Medgar Evers was 37. All three of those men died fighting for something and trying to better the condition of their people. Tupac was killed at the age of 25 and for what? He had a fight at a casino and that's all we know. It's pretty much the same story for Biggie. It's not just famous people. There are guys I played ball with that are no longer here. There are guys I used to blow spitballs with in the second grade that are no longer here. There are guys who could make me laugh to the point of tears that are no longer here. There are people I loved like brothers that are no longer here. The one thing they all have in common is that I couldn't tell anyone why they were killed so soon if they paid me to.

Things would be so different without all that lost. It often gets to me because I have two brothers, cousins and friends that are out here everyday and we are all too young to be worried about our mortality. I'm not having a bad time with anything personally but the amount of my contemporaries that are not here for silly reasons is weighing me down. You can have whatever opinion you want about the events that led to Steve McNair's passing but the bottomline in the end is that he shouldn't be deceased today and that's the case for a lot of brothers.


Maitri said...

When we heard of Steve McNair's passing and the circumstances behind it, my friends and I thought of Phil Hartman the comedian, who was killed in much the same way (crazy, coked-out wife). Not to take away from the overall point of your post, which really questions the why and WTF of the deaths of influential black men in their prime, but I think McNair's death has less to do with the state of the race and a lot more to do with his bad luck of getting involved with a whacko.

Clifton said...

Hey Maitri,
How are you? If I am not mistaken Phil Hartman was killed after his relationship with his wife spiraled out of control. Steve McNair was shot in his sleep by a girl he was fooling around with and his family had no idea anything was going on. If he would been home doing the things he was supposed to do he would still be here. That's the difference to me. Both stories are tragic but McNair went out and found his tragedy. If his wife would have shot him after an argument I would probably look at it differently.

Not So Old Soldier said...

I think this is more about life being taken for granted. Too many brothers leave too early because of bad choices, but sometimes its just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Either way its tragic that at 33 I hear the news of another brother gone too soon and am desensitised to it. I knew Steve a little, we went to Alcorn together. He was a genuine guy and the money didn't change him. He was never unapproachable, no matter who it was. He mad a bad choice that cost him his life.