Article: Stop Blaming Sean for His Own Murder

In memory of Sean Taylor. Please post all thoughts, well-wishes and prayers here.
The Evil Straw
Posts: 8135
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 1:30 pm
Location: Leather Chair

Article: Stop Blaming Sean for His Own Murder

Postby Fios » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:35 am

This is a really excellent piece:

Don’t be so quick to blame the murder victim

By EUGENE ROBINSON

November 30, 2007

WASHINGTON — Why do you suppose so many people were so quick to blame Sean Taylor for his own murder?

Relax, that’s a rhetorical question. There’s no need for self-exculpatory huffing and puffing, no need to point out that the verdict of suicide-by-bad-attitude — pronounced so often this week, and so coldly — was usually couched in broad hints or softened by the nebulous fog of the conditional mood. Everyone knew what was really being said, and everyone knew why.

Taylor instantly became not a person but a character, one whose purpose was to advance a narrative about young black men and their manifold failings. Taylor, a gifted defensive back for the Washington Redskins, had been in trouble with the law. Despite the millions he earned playing football, he never managed to escape the quicksand lure of the mean streets — parasitic friends, envious haters, a culture of casual violence. It was his decision to swim in this cesspool of dysfunction, the narrative said. And, like so many other young black men who have made the same wrong choice, he paid for it with his life.

At least that was the story before Wednesday, when Robert Parker, director of the Miami-Dade police, announced that investigators had “no reason” to believe Taylor was targeted by his killer or even knew the man who shot him. Police were operating on the theory that the crime was a botched attempt at burglary, Parker said, essentially a random act.

I realize that Parker may eventually be proved wrong. But what fascinates me is how eager people were to believe the worst about Taylor — how ready to stuff a young man’s death into a box labeled “pathology” and call it a day — in the absence of supporting factual evidence. Apparently, “innocent until proved guilty” doesn’t apply to young black men even when they’re the victims of violent crime.

The few facts we have, in fact, tell a story that’s very different from the chosen narrative. Sean Taylor is hardly a typical product of those fabled “mean streets” — he grew up with his father, a suburban police chief, in a middle-class neighborhood. He did spend weekends with his mother in a tougher area, though, and acquired some sketchy friends. But at the same time he was attending an exclusive private high school, where he met his girlfriend Jackie Garcia, a niece of the actor Andy Garcia.

Taylor’s home, with its expansive yard and its big swimming pool, is in an upper-middle-class suburb. There’s nothing remotely “mean” about the street.

Jackie Garcia hid under the covers with the couple’s 18-month-old daughter early Monday while Taylor faced the intruder who shot and mortally wounded him. Andy Garcia released a statement Wednesday praising Taylor for his “heroic” sacrifice that saved Jackie’s life.

Much has been made of the fact that Taylor grabbed a machete from under his bed before confronting the intruder. In New York or St. Louis or Seattle, if you saw a machete you’d think: deadly weapon. But I spent years covering Latin America for The Washington Post, so when I see a machete in a place like Miami I’m more likely to think: garden implement. Tropical vegetation is a lot easier to trim with a machete than with hedge clippers, and Taylor’s father said Sean used the blade in his yard. No, machetes are not usually kept under the bed. But if my house had been broken into recently — as Taylor’s was, barely a week before his slaying — I might have wanted the thing a little closer to hand.

My purpose here isn’t to make a hero out of Sean Taylor, though he may well have died a hero’s death. He made some serious mistakes in his life, and he didn’t always have the proper regard for authority and discipline. Nor am I trying to sell the “he was finally turning his life around” narrative, as if taking a few GPS readings were enough to show anyone the way to responsible manhood.

Life isn’t so linear — and people aren’t so one-dimensional.

The next time you encounter a young black man like Sean Taylor — a man who can be headstrong and rebellious, who listens to rap music and sometimes wears his hair in a wild-man ’fro that’s meant to intimidate, who scowls when we want him to smile and makes a bad mistake or two and doesn’t choose the friends we would want him to choose — know that there is possibility within him, and contradiction, and the capacity for love. Know that he’s more than a plot device.


http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pb ... 29046/1049
RIP Sean Taylor

Site Admin
Posts: 9282
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:34 am
Location: London, Ontario

Postby BossHog » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:40 am

Kudos to Eugene... that's a very fair and well thought out article.

Thanks for posting it... maybe with enough real assessments, the bitter taste in my mouth from the poor ones will eventually go away.
Sean Taylor was one of a kind, may he rest in peace.

Hog
Posts: 4716
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:20 am

Postby GSPODS » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:48 am

=D> One writer who somehow managed to avoid every stereotype "hot button" that every other writer seems to be pressing at every turn.

:up:

Site Admin
Posts: 9282
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:34 am
Location: London, Ontario

Postby BossHog » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:52 am

Yeah I think we need to keep posting these articles, because I think it says a lot about a writer's character - what he/she CHOOSES to write about right now.
Sean Taylor was one of a kind, may he rest in peace.

**LPJ**
Posts: 6319
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:12 am
Location: Langley Park, MD *Tick Tock*

Postby langleyparkjoe » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:53 am

True! =D>

Hog
User avatar
Posts: 467
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:17 pm

Postby jazzskins » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:25 am

I read that article this morning, and sent him an e-mail congratulating him on a well written and though out article.

Hog
User avatar
Posts: 244
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:02 pm
Location: Pasadena MD

Postby Charm City Sports » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:39 am

Finally!!!! :celebrate:
Words can't express the loss I feel in my heart.

R.I.P. # 21

We will always remember you.

Sean Taylor was known for his hard hits.

His hardest hit will always be the day that he was taken from us.

###
Posts: 1716
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2003 9:49 am
Location: Blaine, Ohio

Postby redskindave » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:08 pm

Gezzzz.. Its about time!
Hail To The Redskins!
Forty men together can't lose
Blaine Ohio home of Ohios biggest Redskin fan
Every man has to die, Not every man really lives

FanFromAnnapolis
Posts: 10996
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 6:01 pm
Location: on the bandwagon

Postby Irn-Bru » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:26 pm

A well thought out article. Thanks for posting it.
"Last year I thought we'd win it all. This year I know we will." - Rex Ryan, on what would become the 8-8 2011 Jets

"Dream team." - Vince Young, on what would become the 8-8 2011 Eagles

piggie
User avatar
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Right where I want to be...

Postby Secondary_Chaos » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:49 pm

Thank God, someone who doesn't blame the man for his own murder... I am so sick of hearing that crap. I will stand up for ST and who he was til the end.. I didn't know the guy, but neither did most others who are writing about him. From what i've heard from members on this board and his teamates, what the media portrayed him as wasn't who he really was. God forbid someone makes a bad choice or two in their lifetime...
RIP #21

**********
User avatar
Posts: 16744
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 1:45 pm
Location: If I knew ... it would explain a lot but I've seen Homerville on a map, that wasn't helpful at all

Postby 1niksder » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:49 pm

Thanks Fios
..__..
{o,o}
|)__)
-"-"-

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hold on....

If the world didn't suck we'd all fall off

The Evil Straw
Posts: 8135
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 1:30 pm
Location: Leather Chair

Postby Fios » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:59 pm

No need to thank me folks, thank the man who wrote it :up:
RIP Sean Taylor

FanFromAnnapolis
Posts: 10996
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 6:01 pm
Location: on the bandwagon

Postby Irn-Bru » Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:00 pm

Fios wrote:No need to thank me folks, thank the man who wrote it :up:


You see, 1niksder, it's like I told you: behind every seeming "accomplishment" of a cup is a human who did all the hard work. Sheesh.
"Last year I thought we'd win it all. This year I know we will." - Rex Ryan, on what would become the 8-8 2011 Jets

"Dream team." - Vince Young, on what would become the 8-8 2011 Eagles

**********
User avatar
Posts: 16744
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 1:45 pm
Location: If I knew ... it would explain a lot but I've seen Homerville on a map, that wasn't helpful at all

Postby 1niksder » Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:08 pm

Irn-Bru wrote:
Fios wrote:No need to thank me folks, thank the man who wrote it :up:


You see, 1niksder, it's like I told you: behind every seeming "accomplishment" of a cup is a human who did all the hard work. Sheesh.
ROTFALMAO
..__..
{o,o}
|)__)
-"-"-

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hold on....

If the world didn't suck we'd all fall off

Hog
Posts: 685
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Canton, MA where you can drive your 'cah' to the 'bah' for a 'Budweisah'

Postby ChrisHanburger » Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:35 pm

Excellent. Just excellent. This article has been emailed to all the people I know around here who immediately jumped on the "blame it on the Gangsta" bandwagon.

Return to Sean Taylor Tribute