The Tragic Murder Of Sean Taylor

By Chuck Hobbs
Updated: December 11, 2007

Sean Taylor

FLORIDA – Sean Taylor’s tragic and senseless murder hit me harder than any other celebrity death, rendering me almost obsessed with the details of the investigation into this senseless tragedy. To my surprise, for the first time in my life, I have truly mourned the death of a complete stranger.

Maybe it was his age, 24 years old to be exact, that made me remember how bucolic life seemed when I was that age — when my only concerns were law school exams, not being murdered.

Perhaps it was remembering Taylor’s fearless play at the University of Miami, where he dominated in-state rivals at the University of Florida and Florida State with his size, speed and seemingly effortless ability to make big plays.

Another reason could be that he hailed from Richmond Heights in Miami, my father’s old neighborhood where many of my relatives remain. Most likely, it is because his life was a paradox.

Taylor, son of a police chief, was derided by the mainstream media a few years ago for brandishing a weapon against individuals he believed to have stolen his all-terrain vehicle. Despite the popular image of Taylor as a thug, those who knew him best described an extremely intelligent and loyal friend.

It is the latter that vexes me most, as I realize that Taylor will unfortunately be memorialized for a few puerile lapses in judgment as opposed to the man he was rapidly becoming.

And yet, as frustrated as I am each time a news report recounts his past mistakes, I come back to the main point: he died, at home, in front of his fiancée and infant daughter. Sadly, his killers most likely looked just like him.

Taylor’s death hurts because he is another young black man who will never grow to his potential because of someone’s selfish act. This reality warrants a sobering discussion of the obvious, that young black males often die because of other young black males.

It is easy to make excuses about this subject. For years, as young black socio-paths have turned our neighborhoods into combat zones and killing fields, too many black leaders have taken the simple path of blaming it on racism.

When rappers herald this evil behavior in their lyrics and videos, black academicians, eager to sell books, argue that this buffoonery is somehow an example of black culture. The question that begs asking is when did murder, prostitution and drug running become acceptable black culture?

Black apologists argue that the income gap is one of the main culprits behind the despair of young black men that forces them to lives of crime. The falsity in this argument is that poverty has always been a persistent problem in the black community, yet the current murder rates are unprecedented and getting worse.

Another convenient excuse is the drug trade. The problem, again, is that we must blame ourselves for this as well. Whites are not forcing blacks to shoot up or deal drugs. These are conscious decisions that are made by individuals who seem to have no spiritual center.

There remains a morally vapid core of young blacks that seem to fear nothing. I would be remiss if I did not state that early in my career as a defense attorney, I was appointed to represent several young men that had shot or attempted to shoot other black men.

In each instance, my client was a coward, a scared little boy trapped in an adult’s body. If they were truly fearless, they would not fret the electric chair or life imprisonment.

Yet, they cry real tears when these judgments are handed down. By then, it is too late. Which leads to my ultimate conclusion, and only source of hope in the wake of this tragedy. I fully believe that as black people gained more civil rights, we collectively lost our sense of righteousness.

Back when segregation prevented us from rampant materialism and the freedom to do as we please, blacks were more dependent upon the church as the center of activity. Back when loitering laws made it a crime for blacks to stand on the street corner without a job, young men knew they had to work to keep from getting placed on the chain gang.

While no one would argue for a return of Jim Crow, a return to Godly living is the only way to stem the tide of violence. Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mayes, President Emeritus of Morehouse College, once wrote concerning the importance of time “I only have a minute — 60 seconds in it. Forced upon me I did not choose it, but I know that I must use it. Suffer if I lose it — give account if I abuse it. Only a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”

Sean Taylor’s shooting took place in a matter of minutes. Had his killers pondered the consequences even for a moment, he may still be alive. Now, Taylor belongs to eternity. Those who killed him will soon belong to the penal system. And two or more black families have been destroyed because one young black male failed to make the right choice.