Tuesday, September 07, 2004

THE SCORE: There was a very sad incident at Saturday’s N.C. State football game. Two young men, aged 22 and 23, were shot and killed while tailgating during the ballgame. Two other young men, ages 20 and 22, turned themselves in as the shooters. (This is the second multiple fatality in less than a year happening in proximity to an NCSU football game in Raleigh. Last year, a drunk driver struck and killed six pedestrians near the stadium.)

The chain of events seems to be as follows: Somebody was driving too fast through a crowded parking lot. Somebody threw a beer can at the speeding car. The driver got out and confronted the can thrower. Can thrower(s) beat up and humiliated the driver. So the driver and his running buddy, his brother, left to get a gun, came back to the scene of the fight, and evened the score.

The apparent culprits are from a small town in eastern N.C. Nice enough kids, extremely close to each other, loved by their family, well-liked in their community. They were all pumped up on injured pride and brotherly loyalty. One of the victims was a newly commissioned officer in the Marines, stationed in N.C. I imagine he was feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof. A friend of his visiting from Illinois was the other victim. They died senselessly and a long way from home.

Being a young man is inherently dangerous. (Being a young woman is no picnic either, but mostly due to the presence of young men.) Men should all consider ourselves lucky if we made it through our teens and twenties and emerged intact—in one piece and able to live with ourselves.

UPDATE: It was more random and senseless than I thought yesterday. According to the Raleigh News and Observer, September 8 edition, the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. The two young men from Illinois were not the ones that fought with the Johnson brothers; witnesses say they actually helped break up the fight and help the Johnsons get away. To be clear, the shooting is horrible and unjustifiable either way.

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