This is Nick.
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 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.”
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…….