Monday, December 24, 2012


It was just a .22 revolver.  Found while snooping around grandma's place - she probably didn't even remember that she had it.  Flashing the gun should show all the people who hand out the insults that this means business.  Grandpa said never pull a gun unless you intend to use it.  The dude was 6'8" and was handing out the challenges.  Flashing the gun did not slow him down.  So the gun was pulled and used.  Who knew that the victim was Ben Wilson, the number one high school basketball player in the country who had promise equal to or greater than Michael Jordan.  Besides, with even the basic trauma care at the local hospital, Wilson would not have died.  But he did.

I just happened to catch ESPN's 30 for 30 Special on Wilson - Benjy and I recommend it for anyone interested in basketball and gun violence.  Some words from the directors of the special can be read here.  Several things struck me - after Ben died, there was a great outpouring of emotion and concern about black kids killing black kids, the call for more strict gun control laws with thousands of signatories, and talk of Wilson's death being a turning point in Chicago violence.  That was 1984, and I would venture to say that next to nothing has changed.  About the only positive change was that the city of Chicago no longer mandates that shooting victims be transported to the nearest hospital regardless of whether or not it has a trauma unit or trauma surgeons on call.  No doubt many lives have been saved because of this change in policy.  However, the underlying problem remains the same - this country does not have a gun problem, it has a killing problem.  Without a doubt, the widespread availability of firearms makes it much easier to kill, which increases the number of deaths.  There is a culture of killing that runs the gamut from gangs to warmongers. 

Ben wore jersey number 25, and several other players have worn that number in Wilson's honor.  From the Wiki entry linked above - Wilson's friend and Simeon teammate, former NBA and University of Illinois player Nick Anderson, wore jersey number 25 during his career in Wilson's honor. Juwan Howard wore 25 at the University of Michigan as a tribute to Wilson. Current Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who graduated from Simeon Career Academy in 2007, wore number 25, and the team won the state championship in 2006 and 2007. Simeon basketball player Jabari Parker [who just committed to Duke] had the number 25 stitched into the team sneakers during his time at Simeon.

Interestingly one of Wilson's teammates at Simeon was R. Kelly.  


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