What Kind of Anger Caused Will Smith's Murder?

I hope potential readers are not too off guard if they think I was referring to the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  The Philadelphia based Will Smith has reached the level of mega stardom that few citizens of the planet enjoy.  He has security that can notice a suspicious fly from 200 meters away.  The Will Smith I am referring to is the former defensive end for the New Orleans Saints.  He was slaughtered while leaving a date with his wife about 10 days ago.  The perpetrator of the crime shot Will Smith in the back seven times.  It is an indicator of the danger that is faced on the streets of New Orleans by regular citizens everyday.  In this case, the reverberations give us reason to pause and reflect.

Will Smith was an American football player who was part of a Super Bowl winning team.  He also played major college football at Ohio State.  You cannot be a regular run of the mill player if you earn a scholarship to play at Ohio State.  He was probably a Parade All American.  He was rated as the best defensive line prospect in the state of New York.  For those people who might read this from overseas, he was a bad young man.  He had his choice of colleges and his parents probably saved a portion of the ton of mail that he received when he was being recruited.  He helped to lead Ohio State to the BCS National Championship in 2002.  He worked hard and achieved much success.

Will Smith was also the father of three children.  While his wife recovers from the gunshots to her legs, his children will have to wonder why he was slaughtered in the city that he adopted and was helping through numerous charitable activities.  New Orleans is probably still in recovery from one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history.  He did not leave this southern town after he finished his playing career.  He was driving in a Mercedes Benz jeep.  The young man that pumped his body full of lead was driving in a Hummer.  On paper one would think that it would be no reason for both of these individuals to have guns and for the night to end up with one individual bleeding out on a beautiful night.
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Cardell Hayes is described as a former high school football player.  He didn't ascend to the heights that Will Smith reached on the field.  He was part of a semi-pro team that was active in New Orleans.  The twist to this story is that his father was killed by New Orleans police a few years before.  His family won a lawsuit and it might have been why he was driving a Hummer in the first place.  Hummer's probably average around $45,000.00.  Cardell Hayes, in addition to another passenger, also had another loaded gun in his car.  Even if Will Smith bumped into the back of his car, was this a reason to shoot the man eight times.  His original lawyer is setting up the scenario that Mr. Hayes was not the aggressor in this case.  With the fact that Will Smith never pointed a gun at Mr. Hayes I am trying to understand the anger that caused Mr. Hayes to commit bloody murder.

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The city of New Orleans has a history of racism and discrimination.  It was a Confederate stronghold and was the scene of numerous Civil War battles.  Flash forward 150 years and we have to wonder why this incident might be a beacon for improvement in gun control.  Sean Payton, the coach of the Saints, has gone on record as saying that New Orleans is out of control.  Another native son, Tyronn Matthieu, a pro football player for the Arizona Cardinals, is frightened of spending time in his hometown.  Being mad at and afraid of the white man used to be a unifying force for people of color.  We shoot each other at a rapid rate in major cities and in towns like New Orleans.  Is it poverty that causes this self hatred? 

Does having a gun transform guys who would engage in a fist fight into killers?  Whatever it is that causes these spasms of violence, I hope that the next shooter will take time to think of the legacy of hurt and pain that they will leave behind.  Cardell Hayes has been unable to post bail.  He is sitting in jail wondering why he couldn't think of another way to deal with a minor traffic accident.  Will Smith's family is trying hard to process the first spring and summer without his physical presence.  What a terrible journey this will be.

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