It should come as no surprise that I really liked Sean Taylor, or that I find his death tremendously upsetting. Or that I'm having trouble watching football today—even if the right thing to do is march on, the whole sport feels haunted. Especially the big hits, though I guess that's exactly the occasion for that good kind of ghost. I've kept mum on the subject because, well, some peers of mine are a lot more invested and reflective about it. Even in this space, I'd rather defer to them. But I've got two observations I have to get out there.
I'm guessing a lot of you are aware of the Freeway/Beanie Siegel/Styles P rap from the land of Green Lantern; I caught wind of it from PostmanE. It's pitch-perfect Philly bleakness and brutality, and deserves all sorts of music critic plaudits I don't feel like writing right now. Honestly though, I'm finding it a little difficult to listen to. I'm not trying to blame Taylor's murder on hip-hop, or make too much of Li'l Pakistan's demos. It's more that I just don't feel like hearing about hair-trigger shootings, or I-gave-you-power-fueled bravura. This struck a nerve, especially since Beans has been known to get accused of gun crimes.
In this week's Prelude, Ufford writes about our attachment to highlights, how they create a bond between us and the athlete that, for fans, becomes something personal. Of course I didn't know Sean Taylor; in a way, my reaction's nothing more than self-serving sentimentality. I've always known that crimes have victims and actions consequences. I also know I've lived a sheltered life, and that those who grow up around this shit have a relationship with crime that's both more casual and more complex. But it's notable that, despite having long ago rationalized this part of hip-hop, I'm uncomfortable with it today. Such is the power of sports, I guess.
The other: All the early speculation that Taylor must have been the victim of a hit, or that robbers go out of their way to not kill, seemed a little naive to me. In today's day and age, shots get fired off over nothing. Even I know that. If anything, that's the real lesson the media should take from this, every bit as much as they did from the Virginia Tech shootings. Like every one of the 370 murders in Philly so far this year were masterminded rational schemes.