A Forgotten Victim

For this week, I am moving my Missing Person Monday post on Sgt. Rust to tomorrow or Wednesday so I can address another topic.
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Yesterday, my older son made a keen observation about this recent tragic story:

PHOENIX -- A 13-year-old Arizona boy was killed in a freak accident after a baseball hit him over the heart as he tried to bunt, officials in his Little League said Friday.

Hayden Walton went for the bunt during a game Tuesday night in the close-knit northern Arizona city of Winslow, said Jamey Jones, a Winslow Little League official.

"He took an inside pitch right in the chest," Jones said. "After that he took two steps to first base and collapsed."

He died the next morning at a local hospital.

The boy's parents, who were at the game, are heartbroken, shocked and unable to speak to members of the media, league president and family spokesman Dale Thomas said...

After hearing this story my son said, "It must be really sad as well for the pitcher. You know, the kid who threw the ball."

Indeed.

The players involved were just kids.  Trying to help their respective teams win. 

Kids playing a game.

The death just happened.

For the pitcher, it will be something that he will have to deal with for the rest of his life.

What happened is not his fault, but he'll carry the stigma--he will always be identified by peers as "the player who killed that boy."

We all wrestle with happenings in our lives that impact others.

Incidents where we were not at fault, but still have to live with the results.

--A traffic accident where someone is injured.

--A family member who gets hurt while we are the responsible party.

--A friend who injures himself/herself after we missed certain danger signs.

One of those moments occurred when I was a young patrol officer.

I got a call on an older guy who had been found wandering around the outside of an apartment complex nude.  A maintenance man found him and gave "Marshawn" a pair of pants.

We were busy that morning, so the call had been holding awhile before I got there.

Upon arrival, I recognized Marshawn as someone that I had dealt with before--he had a nasty temper and seemed to revel in violence.

This time Marshawn seemed different.  He was mellow.  He responded to all of my questions.  He appeared to be sorry to have bothered the kind maintenance man.

I checked Marshawn for warrants, and the dispatcher found nothing. 

I asked him if he had taking care of all his court dates since the last time I had arrested him.

Marshawn put his head down, exhaled, and replied, "No, I missed that court date on the first of the month."

I had the Records clerk double-check; look to see if the paperwork had been misfiled.

Again negative.

With no warrant and no one wanting to prosecute for his nude wandering/trespassing, I decided to take a seemingly now sober and remorseful Marshawn to his apartment--which was down the street.

He thanked me and I never saw him again.

Three weeks later,  I see on the news that Marshawn was arrested.

He was accused of and later prosecuted for beating his girlfriend unconscious, dragging her into the front yard of that same apartment complex, pouring gasoline on her... and well you can surmise the rest.

Marshawn is currently on death row.

Could I have found some reason to lock Marshawn up after my encounter with him, and then had a tantrum at the records office until the missing warrant was found?

Would he have been locked up during the time that he killed his girlfriend three weeks later?

Probably not, but maybe.

But the would've/should've/could'ves will always be there.

In sum, send your prayers to the family of the boy who was killed in Arizona. 

But don't forget about the other young kid who threw the pitch.

His life has been forever altered.               

19 comments:

Miss Caitlin S. said...

I love this post, love, love this post. Sadly, I have been retrospective on this for a few years as a friend of mine hit and killed a senior citizen who was confused and crossed a busy intersection without right of way. My friend wasn't speeding, wasn't drinking... just was the unfortunate person who had to hit someone who made a mistake. Sadly, it is still noted as a subtext by people who know who she is but don't really know her. I feel awful for her and she's made great steps in reconciling this sad area of her life. This post was very good (and I love the title), thanks for making it even more applicable with your own story.

Audrey Allure said...

What your son said was also my first thought after reading about the story. Such a tragic incident.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

My BIL hit and killed someone on the roads. The dude crossing was drunk and actually stumbled off the sidewalk into the on-coming traffic i.e. by BIL. They wanted to charge him with manslaughter!

chuckmullis said...

Very insightful for your son. Working with youth I don't know very many who would understand the reality of what happens in an accident like this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well.

BobKat said...

Good post Slam, poignant and heart-felt. The kid who threw the ball had nothing to do with the player's death, but he did throw the ball. Regrets! But it was an act of God.

My mistake came at age 21 when I landed a job as custodian at the local community college. It was a pitch that destroyed my mother, as becoming a "janitor", in town, where she knew people was a total disgrace to her sensibilities.

I threw the pitch... and no matter what happened after, regardless of my successes, my accomplished goals, I killed someone.

One of the greatest dangers to our society is guilt! There are times we deserve to fell guilt, and many times not.

You did your job... and sure, maybe you could have prevented the wife's death. But I doubt it. You did your job as you were trained to do it.

There's a certain something called the Butterfly Effect... in which you have the chance to do things over. This time you manage to jail "Marshawn", and the warrant is found. Only his wife commits suicide as she can't live the life she's living any-longer.

We are interpersonal people... We don't live on an island.

What my mother did to me changed my life in a drastic way, but it also made me the person who risked all digging into the Brianna Maitland case, which I probably wouldn't have touched otherwise. And I wouldn't be here.

We don't have the option of enabling the Butterfly Effect... so no use harboring guilt. We do the best we can; we live with the consequences.

Thanks for a compelling topic!

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
It doesn't seem to matter how much we try to watch...stay vigilant, preach safety, obey the rules...or whatever else.
Life has a way getting us to pay attention...for whatever reason we need to be doing so.

Rare would be the person who manages to get through an entire life WITHOUT becoming somehow "damaged" along the way.

Could be from family...from work...from other outside circumstances...still doesn't matter.

The way we DEAL with our own damage will be the deciding factor to how we all move forward in our lives.

Excellent story and commentary.

Stay safe.

Clarissa Draper said...

Those are two really sad stories. I'm sure the pitcher will be altered forever. So sad.

Thanks for the post.

Lydia K said...

What a horrible accident. Commotio Cordis does happen, and it's such a tragedy.

Brian Miller said...

true that and sobering thought...you have an insightful son...

Momma Fargo said...

Very insightful and true. Very sad. These things have happened out here as well. Swimming and tubing accidents, baseball, and one time a football tackle hit in the right spot. Kiddos hit us hard because they haven't even started their life yet...and are so special. Your kiddo has all the perspectives and is wise beyond his years...sounds like he has a good heart, too. Bet it's because he has wonderful parents. Hopefully, he doesn't think he should stop having good clean fun because of the accident.

Jen Daiker said...

The chills I got while reading this was crazy. It really does show the world changes in an instant even if there was nothing you could have done to have prevented something from happening.

Wonderful post... absolutely wonderful.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

We've all got stories like that, in which we wish we had done something different, because our actions might have saved someone else from pain and suffering.

I do feel for the poor pitcher, because that's exactly how he's going to been seen by his peers from now on. And can you imagine what that will do to his confidence and his ability to play the game.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Well said...

secret agent woman said...

I think about that a lot - the kid who accidentally pulls a trigger or swerves their car or whatever and someone dies. It would haunt you.

ladyfi said...

Your son is a sensitive soul. He's right - this is tragic for everyone involved!

Maxi said...

This is one of those incidents called a "freak accident," only it's more heartbreaking when it involves the young.

ZaSu Says said...

Very Good post Slam - you've afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. This is one reason I always read your posts. Keep up the good work. I also love when there's a lil' mix of your family and God.
God Bless you and watch over you and thank you for sacrificing for people like me.

ZaSu

Dawn said...

I have to agree wholeheartedly with what Bob G. wrote in the comments.

This was a very good and insightful post.

Lisa said...

The woulda/coulda/shouldas are always hard to accept, especially in cases like these. It's part of life, but a part none of us really like. I hope the 13-year-old pitcher can find a way to forgive himself for something that really wasn't his fault. Even so, it will probably haunt him forever; just like your experience still raises questions in your mind.