By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
You ever have days you just can’t get your mind clear?
I read a book once by Dr. Andrew Weil titled “Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.” One of his first recommendations was not read newspaper or view other forms of news media. Sorry doc, I work for a newspaper. I tried to trudge through the book, but when chocolate and bacon were not on the food list I looked for a better plan.
I think Dr. Weil was on to something.
My mind began to swirl Tuesday night while watching the ESPN documentary 30 for 30 titled “Benji”. Benji would be Benji Wilson, a Chicago high school basketball phenom in a time before the term became part of our everyday vocabulary. The year was 1984 and Benji was starting his senior year at Simeon Vocational High School.
He was the first Chicago area player to be named the No. 1 high school basketball player in the nation. We would never find out how good Benji could be. He was killed in a shooting incident. Many lives were changed that day that Benji’s life ended. Benji had a son, a close-knit family, and a lot of fans.
Lives also changed for the two young boys convicted of murder. One was honored at the White House this year for the program he started for ex-convicts after his release. The other would soon return to jail.
So while I am wondering what Benji could have been and how a son had to grow up without a dad, I read this. The headline in Wednesday’s Sentinel read, “Woman dies from stabbing.”
The woman was Pamela Honeycutt Bobbitt. She was 25 years old with a daughter. We will never know how her story could have ended either. She wasn’t a basketball star, but you don’t have to be a star to touch lives. Maybe her greatest influence would have been to raise children that would change many lives. Instead her life ended at Apartment 26 at Thunderbird Apartments.
It doesn’t matter if it is a street in Chicago and you are a superstar or on South Laurel road and a mother, violence likes this does not have to happen.
This is the same day we hear of the trial date being set for the accused murder of Sarah Hart, who was expecting her fourth child when her life was taken after jogging with her sister in Jamestown. It was another senseless act that makes you wish you could lock your family inside to keep them safe.
Then I read, “Elderly man hospitalized after home invasion.” Maybe home isn’t so anymore either.
One common thread in all of these senseless acts was that nothing good comes out of violence, not for Benji Wilson, Pamela Bobbitt, or Sarah Hart. But also not for those that committed the crimes. Lives continue and some even prosper, but sometimes how we fill a void is not as good as what was taken away. The decision usually doesn’t begin when you pull the trigger. It begins with choices you make much earlier. The choice to use drugs, to hit a woman, or that money stolen is easier than money earned are not paths that end well for anyone.