Silver Chips Online

Misplaced mourning

Moment of silence for Sean Taylor shows disregard for more relevant issues

By Kate Harter, Online Weekend Editor and Miriam Ragen, Online National News Editor and Food Editor
November 28, 2007
The death yesterday of Washington Redskins' safety Sean Taylor was undeniably a tragedy. Taylor was a mere 24 years old and left behind a young fiancée and an infant daughter. But the response to his murder has provoked in the community calls into question society's tendency to mourn the death of a public figure while ignoring the everyday passings of ordinary people.

A moment of silence after InfoFlow yesterday morning gave more attention to Taylor's death than was given to the ten Washington-area teens killed in car crashes in the last two weeks. While the death of such an accomplished player requires proper mourning, the response shows a neglect of issues more relevant to the Blair community.

Where was the moment of silence for Christian Cruz, Alyson and Ryan Purvis, Tavonne Alston or Jonathan Chapman, just five of the most recent teenage car crash victims in the area? Why is it that we don't recognize the people close to our age, who could have been Blair students, who could have been any one of us, but instead honor a man none of us will ever be or know? We choose to honor Taylor simply because of his work at FedEx Field.

Heroes can take any form, from parent to teacher to tabloid-friendly celebrity. Taylor's skill and accomplishments on the football field make him worthy of all the praise he received and the hero-status he attained. But blindly accepting and idolizing a hero can be dangerous. Taylor's death must serve as a reminder to the masses that heroes, too, are mortal, and can experience life and death like any other, and the school community has no need to aggrandize his death to a God-like fall.

Taylor, the Redskins' number 21, was a great football player, and he will be missed. However, moments of silence should be reserved for a significant event, lest people numb themselves to deaths or the meaning behind such silences. Blair's last moment of silence was held on the anniversary of Sept. 11 – a far greater tragedy than Taylor's death. And if we're not ready to take a moment for our peers who have been killed throughout the county, we shouldn't be taking a moment for a football player who was an icon, but also a stranger. Research teacher Kevin Shindel may have put it best when he said that the moment of silence was "emblematic of our tendency to worship entertainers and athletes instead of people that are a lot more like us."

Like any other death, Taylor's should be remembered and honored. But it's one thing for the Redskins football team to take a moment for their lost player - and it's another for a high school to do such a thing.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/7939