Nick

This is Nick.

He is a 20-year-old student at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in St. Louis, Missouri.  Nick is originally from Waukesha, Wisconsin, but has come to call the Midwest his home. nick drumming

The third year pharmacy student is a member of the Alpha Zeta Omega pharmaceutical fraternity where he is a recruitment chair, and also plays drums for his band, the Rxtions, heavily influenced by Blink 182. Nick and Meredith   Nick has a beautiful girlfriend named Meredith and is set to graduate in 2017.

I don’t know Nick.

I will never know Nick.

Nick was murdered last night at his home in St. Louis in a drive-by shooting. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2571210/Popular-pharmacy-student-20-killed-drive-shooting-talking-friends-backyard.html)

In 2013, St. Louis was not only voted the Most Dangerous City for the third year in a row (http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2013/08/st_louis_deadliest_city_america.php)  with 120 murders, at least 31 of them  have gone unsolved.  As of January 27th of this year there had already been 12 homicides in the city.  That’s one every other day.

I have lived in St. Louis, in a great Delmar neighborhood.  I let my kids walk to Walgreens and play outside late at night when none of them were over 13.  We left the city in favor of a small jerkwater town in Illinois where the kids could continue to walk to Walgreens and play outside late at night.  Had we stayed, those days would have been over long before they were due.

The officials and staunch city supporters will tell you the numbers are skewed; that those killed were in the city, typically the North Side, an area that has slipped increasingly into the pits of Hell over the last 10 years.  They will tell you that being labelled the Most Dangerous City really isn’t fair because St. Louis County is included in that and the demographics don’t tell the full story.

Do you think that matters to Nick’s parents this morning?

Or how about the parents of Megan Boken, a St. Louis University student shot last year in her car while she was talking on the phone to her mother in broad daylight.

The two little teenage maggots that killed Megan “just wanted to rob her.”

(http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-judge-orders–year-sentence-for-killer-of/article_aec06848-4ccb-5f42-9258-acb06bd22f20.html)

What the hell is going in St. Louis??

Is this a police problem?  Are there not enough cops on the payroll to adequately protect and serve?  No, I don’t think so.

This is a social problem, and one we have created ourselves.  We have spent so much time and money making sure the “inner city youth” have their programs and their liasons and their social work excuses for aberrant behavior that we have politically corrected ourselves into a society where the criminals have become the victims and the families of the victims never really see any true justice.  According to the State of Missouri, a conviction of second-degree murder carries an average sentence of 200 months, of which less than 75% of that is actual time served  (http://doc.mo.gov/Documents/publications/Offender%20Profile%20FY12.pdf)

Are you kidding me right now?

A murder rap can mean less than 10 years in jail?  And the same document quoted above states that the rate of recidivism over 5 years is 54%.

Over half of all those convicted re-offend within 5 years of their release.

Here’s a thought:  stiffer penalties, no plea-bargains, no slick lawyer games, and no bullshit about how the accused is a “victim of Society”.  How about a little personal responsibility and the recognition of that within the damn judicial system??  How about we get rid of the touchy-feeley court approved, federally funded programs that teach us all how to play nice and everyone gets a trophy because we’re all winners.

I got news for you:  the bastards that gunned Nick down were maggots.  The bastards that shot Megan were maggots.  They were NOT winners, they were NOT born with winner potential, and they should be afforded the same courtesies as a rabid dog.  If there was truly any “justice” within the Justice System we would see substantially less violent crime.  Kids like Megan and Nick were about to contribute to the world at large; they had goals and would one day be productive members of their communities.  The worthless meatsacks that took their lives will never produce anything except misery and pain.  No, there IS no forgiveness.  A line must be drawn somewhere or we end up where we are.

And it’s not just St. Louis.  It’s every major city where the thugs and gangbangers have taken over once-thriving neighborhoods, leaving the residents still living there in fear.  It’s every court room where a bleeding heart defense attorney lays it on thicker and deeper as he goes about broken homes, or abused childhoods, or destitute upbringings- what I like to call the “poverty defense”, as if being poor is an excuse to get away with a capital crime.  It’s every social worker that actually believes repeat malcontents deserve “one more chance”.

Nick won’t get another chance.

And I look into the eyes of that photograph of a young student so full of life, so crazy about his girlfriend, and I think that could be my son.  And unlike the Treyvons of this world, there will be no excuses, no rallies for “justice”, no calls from the President.  Why?  Because also unlike the Treyvons of this world, kids like Nick and my son understand the meaning of actions leading to consequences.  Kids like Nick and my son understand there are rules that are meant to be played by and they don’t have attorneys to play them off.  Kids like Nick and my son will make a difference in the world by being something more than a socially responsible t-shirt slogan.

Nick’s parents will not receieve a call from the President tonight offering his condolences and sympathisizing with them in their grief.  But they should.  His parents won’t get invited to the White House to speak on issues of gun violence as if the senseless killing of their son suddenly would qualify them as experts on the subject.  No, Nick’s parents will deal with their grief and their anger and their shock in the way most families do, by relying on friends and family and each other.  They will suffer in quiet anonymity, along with every other parent who has lost a child under similar circumstances, and will do whatever they can to keep their son’s memory alive, to keep their own grief from overwhelming the rest of their lives, and to one day try to move past this tragedy.

I cannot begin to understand what they must feel right now, or will feel in six months.  I can only say again it could have been my son.  That’s why I feel it’s so important that Nick’s story should be told and told over and over again, so no one forgets-so no one forgets what got us here and how we need to make the hard choices to get out-so no one forgets it could have been their son.

I never knew Nick.

But my son did.

And now, maybe, you do too…….

Comments
  1. Lisa says:

    Very well said!

    • Pam and Don Feldhake says:

      As parents of a StLCoP student, we hope his killers are brought to justice. It is a crying shame that a young man that has worked so hard to become a professional is cut down at the height of his young life. We were devastated to hear about this tragedy as we remembered how hard it was for our daughter to achieve her goals and thought how easily this could happen to any of our children. We continue to pray for his family and for the safety of all of his schoolmates.

    • Anonymous says:

      My husband and 2 daughters and I drove to St. Louis on Saturday morning March 1st to visit my daughter who is a stlcop first year student for her birthday. Upon entering the dorms we quickly learned the news of Nick. My heart sank, my soul felt pain for his family, and my mind was angered that someone could take such a precious life away. Amen to the person who wrote the above article. Nick was such hope for the future. Like all of our stlcop children, they are successful, hardworking, caring, good hearted people who are pursuing their dreams to enter a field to serve others in healthcare. It brings such sadness to see such a horrific thing happen. My family and I went to mass at the Basilica and prayed for Nick and his family and friends. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope the person who did this to Nick never sees the light of day.

      • Thank you for your wonderful thoughts. I appreciate every comment this blog receives. I would like everyone reading this to know that as of this writing, this particular post has gotten nearly 21000 reads. I don’t know if Nick’s family will ever see this but I want them to know there are now 20648 people that will never forget their son. It’s not enough but it’s a damn good start. Thank you all for passing this around like you have…..Av

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I am a friend of Nicks. He was like a brother to me. Him and his family took me in and I lived with them for a year and it was some of the best times I ever had. To whomever wrote this artical I just want to say thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a parent of a student at College of Pharmacy and it makes me sick to my stomach to think what this family is going through. It angers me to think the person who took this young man’s life is still out there. May he rot in hell ….. God bless Nick’s family! Kudos to the person who wrote this article.

  3. OneLove says:

    Probably the second most cruelest sin to commit after murdering an innocent armless victim, is to compare tragedies.

    We have got to do better.

    God bless BOTH the parents of Nick and Trayvon.

    NO parent deserves to bury their own child.

    • Believerofjustice says:

      Agreed…trayvon martins case is incomparable to nicks and also a sensitive subject for many. Both cases are extremely sad.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So sad for Nick and famly, and by the way Waukesha IS the midwest.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Still confused on what the “inner city youth” and Treyvon Martin have to do with Nick’s tragedy. No one has the right to take the life of another. We are all sad for Nick and his friends & family. Please leave your political bullshit and out of this.

  6. greg says:

    well said. i dont know this boy but thinking of how his parents and friends are in pain over someone that needs mental help along with the rest of the thugs that think killing people is fun. my thoughts and prayers are with this young mans family and friends rip.

  7. PoliceWife says:

    Thank you to whoever wrote this article. I’m the wife of a police officer who works in St Louis city on the north side. I agree it, it’s not a lack of police. It’s a social problem. I can promise you my husband comes home from work and is truly upset about all the acts of crime he sees, including murder. He wishes there was some way he could stop it and is sick to death of this kind of stuff happening. Please know that Nick’s family has the love and support of the SLMPD.

    • I have an uncle that was a former police officer and I, myself, have worked within the judicial system so I know it IS a social problem. It takes and amazing amount of courage and conviction to be a cop these days. I tip my hat to your husband…AND to you. Thank you for your comment…..Av

  8. Henry says:

    Hello!

    Thank you for writing this. I want to give my regards to your son and Nick and Megan’s family and friends. I recently had a good friend that past away too and it was hard on everyone at the University of Illinois and everyone in Chicago who knew her. Some of us are still slowly recovering from this loss and we try to live everyday remembering how privileged we are to be on this Earth.

    On a less sentimental note, I want to make a few comments about your story if you do not mind. I was very pleased when you said that the drive-by shooting and the homicides were “a social problem.” I worked for a non-profit that tutored and mentored students full time in the poorest of neighborhoods of Chicago, and I saw a lot of the violence, drug abuse, and poverty, similar to the things that go on in neighborhoods like St. Louis’s. This is a very serious social problem and what I am trying to convey is that “stiffer penalties, no plea-bargains, no slick lawyer games, and no bullshit about how the accused is a ‘victim of Society’” is not an answer. In fact, it is counter-productive. Yes, those that are wrong-doers need to be punished, but the root of the problem is not the severity of the punishment. The more deeply rooted problems in our society that CAUSES these gangs to form and immature impulses to happen are things like poverty and the lack of education and opportunities.

    To me, Nick’s story is another motivation for me to make a difference to this world and try to prevent events like these from happening. I wish your son well, and your family has my regards.

    Best,

    HLi

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment. I do not moderate comments to this blog as I believe everyone has a right to their Voice and your comment is the perfect example of that. You and I do not agree on the solutions to the problem, however, we DO agree that there is a problem, and that’s a start. I don’t have the answers…I don’t know who does…but if they’re out there I hope they show up soon. The violence has GOT to stop. The root cause behind this social disease has GOT to be ferreted out and the treatment has GOT to start. There has been enough death and sorrow. I, personally, would like like to see more stories on the news about what’s RIGHT with the country, and the city of St. Louis, instead of every broadcast leading with another murder or theft or story of child abuse. Thank you again for your kind words…..Av

  9. anonymous says:

    I know the grief of losing a child, it is something you never get over. My prayers go out to Nick and Megan’s family. These kids have lost their lives, and I think that the perpetrators should lose theirs as well. I wish they would change the law on how these maggots are sentenced. For example, if they are convicted, they may have 1 year to appeal. If the verdict is not overturned, then they go directly to be put to death. That would be fair, and wouldn’t clog up the prisons with all the prisoners that have been sentenced to life without parole. Then maybe there would be a change in the murder rate. If you know you’re going to die if you kill someone, it might make them think twice.

    • I have always asserted this as well for capital crimes like murder, and yes, I support the death penalty. There is a reason it was put into play in the first place. I am so sorry for your loss….there ARE no words. I have openly stated often that if this happened to one of my children they would never be able to dig deep enough to find the body of the perp for a trial. It is my greatest wish that your family, along with the families of Nick and Megan, can one day find peace in these horrific tragedies….Av

  10. aureliawood says:

    Your article was awesome. You said what so many of us are thinking ..our prayers are with Nick and his family.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I would like to think that you are right, and maybe I have given a voice to those people. Prayers and peace for the family are the things I think we can ALL agree on in the aftermath of this awful crime…..Av.

  11. Sofia Porter says:

    I cannot agree more. I live on the street where this took place, and likewise heard the shots that seem to occur all too often. I am deeply troubled by what I see and hear in this city, and I am, without doubt, not alone in the accompanying fear that’s yielded by this environment. Like you said, this is a social matter with possible solutions other than narrow-minded hypotheses of gun legislation. The sounds of gunfire in the stillness of night have become all too deafening and stifling.

  12. Pippa Bianco says:

    Thank you for this most beautiful blog about Nick. Nick was a classmate of my son Joseph through grade school in Webster NY. We are praying for peace.

  13. MarcoSolo says:

    I didn’t know Nicholas but I was sickened by his murder as I am by the steady string of similar murders. I am still amazed by the lack of widespread outrage and the trivial rewards. Every morning and every night since, I look to see whether the vermin have been caught. Yes, it’s a “social problem” but tagging it means nothing. It is a problem so pernicious that it threatens the health and well-being of society as a whole and it has to be treated aggressively.

    We are born into a social contract. When someone violates that social contract so egregiously they lose the right to participate or burden society ever again. I’m sick up to here with apologists who point to generations of tax funded dysfunctionality and assert it’s not the vermin’s fault it’s vermin. I don’t care. The rabid dog analogy is apt. You don’t try to pet a rabid dog back to health; you put it down. This “social problem” is the results of decade stacked upon decade of misdirected and inefficient governmental beneficence which has become a malignant industry. Social programs are bandaids for cancer. The courts are ponderous and impotent in meting out effective punishment. Going to prison has become a rite of passage, an advanced degree for kids who oozed through K- (maybe) 12 without being required to learn anything marketable. Guards may confine them but inside, prisoners run prisons and churn out more virulent criminals.

    There are predators cruising our streets, people whose only relief from their meaningless lives is getting high, listening to music glorifying their psychotic outlook and inflicting pain on others. They get a tear tattooed on their cheek in celebration, a tear representing the tears of the mother of the person and his unborn generations they cut off.

    You can wring your hands and weep and pray and hug each other and light candles til the cows come home but unless good people say enough is enough and do something definitive we will always be prey, always on the defensive, perpetually outraged, forever grieving over the losses of people like Nicholas.

    • Amen to this!! You said it so much more eloquently than I could have! I agree with you one hundred percent. I have watched the news every night since Nick’s murder and he was “big news” for about three days. Now? Nothing. Why? “Evil happens when good men fail to act”…..Av

  14. MarcoSolo says:

    More at

    http://countenance.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/partys-over-2/#comment-58949

    Yes, MarcoSolo and Titus Andronicus are one and the same – I just feel more militant today.

  15. Anonymous says:

    RIP

  16. MarcoSolo says:

    Two months today. I’m reminded of Hamlet’s sarcastic comment that a great man’s memory may outlast his life half a year! The small pops, the punctuation to Nick’s life, have dissipated into faint ripples lost in the background chatter of the endless iterations of the latest travesty. Somewhere there’s someone who sleeps tonight, his mouth slightly agape, emitting the soft susurration of basal breathing, eyes flicking under eyelids in response to dream or nightmare: that is the someone who killed Nicholas. The balance of the universe begs to be restored.

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