Archive for the Tragedy Category

A Great Memory of Wayman Tisdale!

Posted in Early Death, Life, Music, NBA, people, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by Rick

Another great memory of former NBAer and musician Wayman Tisdale, shared by his friend, saxophonist, Kirk Whalum. This is one of Wayman’s  first public messages after having most of his leg removed due to cancer. Inspiring!

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Wayman Tisdale: You will be missed!

Posted in Life, Music, NBA, people, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by Rick

R.I.P. to Wayman Tisdale. One of the few professional athletes that finish a very respectable career in sports and move on to equal or greater success in other areas. I enjoyed him as a basketball player but I laughed when I first learned that Wayman was a jazz bassist. I was too young and naive to believe an athlete could be great at something other than sports. That was probably my way of dealing with being good at music and bad at sports. Wayman was one of the guys that first alerted me to the simple reality that people often have more than one talent/gift and can be successful at various things with talent and hard work. He played the game of basketball and displayed his musical art with so much passion and integrity that many people will never know him (tragic truth of our society). We share a mutual friend and acquaintance and I hoped to have the chance to share with him how he inspired me. Alas, cancer claimed his leg and now his life. Thank you Wayman, for loving your wife and children with integrity and sharing your passion for the game and for music with a crazy mix-up kid and the rest of the world! God bless the Tisdale family as they grieve and bask in the afterglow of a strong legacy and a life well lived. http://www.waymantisdale.com/

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What if…?

Posted in Early Death, Faith & Religion, Family, Life, people, politics, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2009 by Rick

That’s a question my father always asked when explaining to my siblings and I the travesty of abortion. He was conceived as result of date rape. In 1957 his young mother was faced with two unpopular options. She could abort my father, justifiably by many standards. She was young, severely underemployed, and the victim of rape. Her other choice was to have the baby, knowing its father would not be around to support it, and place a heavy burden on her lifestyle and those that loved her. Praise God she chose the later. My father was raised with the support of his mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles, and some close friends of the family and he lived to play significant roles in the lives of his mother, his birth-father, everyone that helped raised him, his eight siblings (papa was a rolling stone for REAL, but found redemption and reconciliation before death) and countless others. My father is now a devout Christ-follower and  a successful husband, father, church elder, friend, brother and business man. His story of triumph in adversity is not an anomaly, but the testament of millions like him who were given a chance to live despite the odds. It all started with mothers’ selfless decision to say abortion is not the only answer to unwanted pregnancy. Granny exercised the audacity of hope.

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SOME of the family

Today I saw a video that my friend Ben Washer posted on his blog after seeing it on BET. It’s not sponsored by a political party, person or organization but by the Fidelis Center for Law & Policy through CatholicVote.com.  I don’t know if it is marketed beyond BET but when I saw it I thought, “What if…?” Like dad, I pondered “What if this man and his unique path had never been actualized?” What would that mean socially and politically in America?

It’s painful to think that our new President, with my vote, will push legislation allowing mothers to snatch hope, potential and possibility out of the hands of deserving lives.  The unborn won’t have the opportunity to follow  in his footsteps. It’s like getting to Heaven and closing the door on those behind you. On this issue, I pray his political rhetoric was just that.

For the record I am not a one-issue-voter. Had the election outcome been different this post would be on a different yet equally painful attrocity in government.

RIP Jdimytai Damour: Consumerism Claims One More.

Posted in Early Death, Life, people, Tragedy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2008 by Rick

ajc.com>associated press story

Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down


Associated Press Writer

A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday when “out-of-control” shoppers desperate for bargains broke down the doors at a 5 a.m. sale. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers shouted angrily and kept shopping when store officials said they were closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store. When told to leave, they complained that they had been in line since Thursday morning.

Nassau County police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors at the mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the man, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour of Queens, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

“This crowd was out of control,” said Nassau police spokesman Lt. Michael Fleming. He described the scene as “utter chaos.”

Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said.

Items on sale at the store included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as “The Incredible Hulk” for $9.

Damour, 34, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 6 a.m., police said. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, where she and the baby were reported to be OK, said police Sgt. Anthony Repalone.

Police said criminal charges were possible in the case, but Fleming said it would be difficult to identify individual shoppers. Authorities were reviewing surveillance video.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a “tragic situation” and said the employee came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store. It said it tried to prepare for the crowd by adding staffers and outside security workers, putting up barricades and consulting police.

“Despite all of our precautions, this unfortunate event occurred,” senior Vice President Hank Mullany said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted.”

Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like “savages.”

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,'” she said. “They kept shopping.”

A woman reported being trampled by overeager customers at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in Farmingdale, about 15 miles east of Valley Stream, Suffolk County police said. She suffered minor injuries, but finished shopping before filling the report, police said.

Shoppers around the country line up early outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving in the annual bargain-hunting ritual known as Black Friday. It got that name because it has historically been the day when stores broke into profitability for the full year.

___

AP retail writers Anne D’Innocenzio and Mae Anderson and contributed to this report.

Woeful Weekend pt. 2…

Posted in Early Death, Entertainment, Movies, Music, people, television, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2008 by Rick

This one hits hard because I love music (almost unhealthily). I am especially sensitive to the pioneers and trailblazers of the art form and there aren’t many more significant to the last 40 years than Isaac Hayes. News reports state that he was found by his current wife in his home. He was pronounced dead at 2:08am here in Memphis at Baptist East Hospital. Ironically, Rick McCory, our church’s bass player, joked that he thought the song “I Stand Amazed” on our song list read “I Stand Accused”. I proceeded to dust off my best “Black Moses” baritone and sing the song, oblivious to his passing just hours prior. Black Moses, as he was affectionately known, used soul and funk to minister to the emotional and social hearts of pop culture during the late 1960’s and 70’s. He helped popularize Memphis-based Stax Records keep America groovin’ while giving African Americans something to be proud of. He composed the theme for the movie Shaft and made everyone wish they had a personal theme song. His orchestral arrangements reshaped the soulful sound. He took Burt Bacharach classics like “Walk On By” and “The Look of Love” and transformed them into epic, 10+ minute, soulful-symphonies.

Hayes was a shining (literally) example of black pride, prestige and influence. He was not just another rich guy wearing a chain (literally). He used his celebrity to motivate people and support contemporary causes like Youth for Human Rights International and the One Campaign. During his eventful life, Isaac compiled a very respectable film and television career, despite having no formal training. He appeared in Keenen Ivory Wayans’ comedy I’m Gonna Git You Sucka as well as Oscar-worthy indy-drama Hustle & Flow. He most recently noted for his voice role as “Chef” on the controversial animated comedy South Park. One of his final film appearances is in the yet-to-be-released Soul Men in which he shares the screen with recently deceased Bernie Mac. They will both miss the premier. God bless these men’s families.

Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008)

Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008)

Woeful Weekend…

Posted in Comedy, Early Death, Entertainment, Life, Movies, people, television, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , on August 10, 2008 by Rick

Two of my favorite artistic forms took a solid hit this weekend. It began with the early exit of comedian/actor Bernie Mac. No doubt, if you’ve ever heard him, you recognize his signature cadence. If you’ve ever seen him it’s easy to recall the facial expressions that seemed to be punchlines all by themselves. If you’ve ever seen him deliver stand-up you know that he could handle a four-letter-word like a ninja does nunchucks. But he did make a highly respectable mark on popular culture with his family oriented The Bernie Mac Show that painted a colorful portrait of African American middle class life. He also earned some movie roles in Ocean’s 11, 12 & 13 and Guess Who. He was taken away at 50 due to complications of pneumonia. I will always respect him because despite growing up under adverse conditions on the south side of Chicago, Mac seemed determined to succeed without excuses. He persevered despite losing his only true parent to cancer when he was 16 years-old. He didn’t get his show biz break until he was 32 but until that point he punched clocks at UPS, a bread company and furniture moving company while trying to achieve as an entertainer. When he “made it” he did not take his celebrity for granted. He worked to be a positive role model for young people (in spite of foul language). Thank you Bernie Mac! You will be missed.

Comedian Bernie Mac

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008)

Goodbye or Good Riddance? Sean Taylor

Posted in Football, Sean Taylor, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2007 by Rick

I’d like to state for the record that I titled this piece in a way to grasp attention. As you read further you will hopefully understand that I am reasonably grieved over this tragic occurrence. But the media’s poor handling of this story and casual attitude towards the loss of a human being is much more troubling to me.

I am an avid sports fan. It can get to sinful levels when it comes to NBA basketball and NFL football but I’m sure I’m not on an island in that department (don’t mean to excuse transgression). I was not shocked to hear that Washington Redskins safety, Sean Taylor had passed away after hearing a description of his injuries. I was hoping for the absolute best, but a gunshot wound near the femoral artery is not a good situation to recover from without immediate medical attention. I instantly thought of his family and the child he was leaving behind and I nearly cried. I felt for his friends and teammates who would be left to wonder what happened to their brother. As the reports came in it was difficult to hear accounts of the incident without the disclaimer of his ‘questionable past’. The footprint of his criminal history seemed strategically woven through each head and tag line. Once the pundits finished reporting Taylor’s history of indiscretion outweighed the sorrow of his death. A previous break-in, alleged threats, past DUI’s and a spotty up-bringing all trumped the travesty of a senseless death. What police are deeming a random burglary gone horribly wrong, is being heavily scrutinized and doubted by many of sports’ talking heads and it is raking my soul.

Colin Cowherd, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, Jason Whitlock and Doug Gottlieb are just a few names of sports columnists and commentators who have brought light to the fact that this crime was more likely provoked by Taylor rubbing an old associate the wrong way. It bothers me so because the truth of this story is only beneficial to the Taylor family, Miami-Dade Police and residents. Why dig into this story unless the intent is to assist police in bringing the assailant to justice? I don’t get the feeling that Colin Cowherd is solving Miami murders from a radio studio in Bristol, CT. So why all the talk?

I believe many of these writers, much like there tabloid contemporaries, rush to identify the Sean Taylors (I am not condemning him) of the world as bad elements so they can sit back and say ‘See? When you do wrong, bad things happen to you’. This is the credo that helps them all to sleep at night. They also confide in the converse of that statement ‘If you work hard and do right by others good things will happen for you’ and at the very least no horrible things will happen to you. The truth is much more difficult to digest, especially when you don’t believe in an all knowing, all powerful God. Here’s what Solomon of the Bible says to that:

Ecclesiastes 7:15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:
a righteous man perishing in his righteousness,
and a wicked man living long in his wickedness.

Solomon was not God but God allowed him to write this and include it in His holy book. Solomon notices that sometimes good people meet calamity and an early end though they are blameless. He’s also seen evil people live long, seemingly worry-free existences. Thankfully, God has promised that he will not forsake the righteous nor will he ignore the wicked. He promised it would happen but always on this this side of the sun.

Back to Sean’s judges. Random deaths and adversity don’t add up in the ‘get-what-you-deserve’ context. The safe theory is that if you stay out of certain neighborhoods, distance yourself from ‘thugs and gangstas’, mind your business, pay your taxes and take care of you then things will be fine. That’s the kind of thinking that leave many shaking there fists in anger and confusion when the formula falls short of expectation. The assurance of authentic Christian living is that God does not deal in the random. God allows and often causes things to happen, both benefit and calamity. You can rest assured that even when an event seems fortuitous God has a purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything (good and bad),
and a season for every activity under heaven:

No smart person would be arrogant enough to claim to know God’s intention for allowing an act to take place. It can be comforting to think that a perfect God is in control when it feels as though no one is. Sean Taylor’s death, untimely as it may seem, was allowed to happen for some reason. It’s not up to ESPN, Fox Sports radio or anyone else to speculate. The media can, however, help by reporting the facts and speaking well of an imperfect life that still made lasting positive impacts in the lives of family, friends, sports fans and teammates.

Sidenote:

As I complete this entry Miami-Dade police have arrested four youth in conjunction with Taylor’s murder. Confessions have been made and a gun was recovered. It appears at this point that this was indeed a robbery attempt that took an unintended fatal turn. I hope this changes the tone of media coverage.