I've said that I'll never write at work, but something this morning has me too worked up to sit quietly until I get home around 10 tonight. As you know by now, Redskins All-Pro safety Sean Taylor was murdered in his home early Monday morning, having died early this morning at a hospital while never regaining consciousness. A great tragedy, to be sure. Please know that what I write from here on out is not meant to take away from this great loss that his family and friends have been dealt.
While I only listened to the Junkies when I woke up and on the way to work this morning, I heard from a co-worker that Russ Parr was coming from the same angle, so I'm assuming that the majority of the media took the same tact. This tact is that they mourned Taylor, not mentioning his on-the-field skill, but rather mourning him as a person. They talked about how tough it is to deal with seeing someone cut down in their prime, how they themselves were hurting over this loss. They took phone calls from listeners who expressed the same sentiment. My co-worker said that one caller to Russ Parr said that they "had to pull over when they heard the news because it hit them so hard." This, my friends, is the worst type of hypocrisy.
None of these callers and almost none of the media knew Sean Taylor, they just knew about him. About is the key word here. There has been much speculation regarding whether Taylor was a thug, a reformed thug, or just misunderstood. It is just that -- speculation. Because, again, we never actually knew him. All of this because of someone we knew about. But there are hundreds and thousands of people who die every year that we don't know about. We hear the statistics -- according to http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/dccrime.htm, there were 169 murders in Washington in 2006. As I noted during Thanksgiving week, there have been nearly 3,900 American soldiers killed in Iraq. Does the media stop for each of these killings? Why not? Is Sean Taylor's life worth more than any of these other people or the 17,034 murders commited in the US in 2006, according to http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm? In reality, we knew those people about as well as we knew Sean Taylor, we just didn't know about them.
So let's stop the hypocrisy. Either we get worked up over every wrongful death or we get worked up over none. Which would you think is right? The media and public will mourn Taylor for a couple of days. Then, they will discuss what the Redskins need to do. After that, we'll move on to the next news cycle. No discussion about the culture of violence that led to his and so many other deaths. No discussion about the danger of handguns in society. No notice of the thousands of people dying every year until the next star dies, when we'll start the same process, not having learned anything from the last time.