Yet again we have lost another young former African American NFL athlete to a road rage incident. The Trial for the Road Rage death of Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith has just begun and the city of New Orleans is dealing with yet another tragic death of their own son, Joe McKnight. Joe McKnight was shot and killed in broad daylight by 54 year old Ronald Gasser after what started out as a argument, turned deadly with McKnight being shot multiple times. Their were a lot of similarities with the murders of both of these young men. Both were killed in New Orleans, both were killed in Road Rage incidents, both were former NFL players, and both were killed by the hands of a gun. Will Smith was killed by the hands of Cardell Hayes another African American male, in what began as a traffic accident that turned deadly. With Will Smith being shot and killed and his wife Racquel being shot multiple times as well. Cardale Hayes waited for the police to arrive and was hand cuffed and hasn’t never been out of jail since. Joe McKnight’s shooter Ronald Gasser (who is white) also waited for police, was taken to the police station and was released only to be arrested for manslaughter a couple of day’s later. Now with the tensions of several major riots in numerous US cities for the death’s of several unarmed Black Men many are asking “Why was he allowed to go home and get his affairs in order? They wouldn’t have done that if he was Black.”
We have all been through a very divisive Presidential Election with the Election of President Elect Donald J. Trump and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and the subject of race relations was at the forefront. We will be mistaken if we forget that this country was build on racism and we have a system that leaves many left behind just for the color of their skin. But in the cases of Joe McKnight and Will Smith, these were brothers who had “Made It” and they were still killed. Some say they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and in the case of Will Smith he also has a weapon in the car and carried a CCW Permit. I believe that the Open Carry Law that Louisiana and my home state of Ohio, have made the situation of shoot first and cry “I Was In Fear Of My Life Later” as the correct answer if you are a white person killing a black person. Louisiana’s stand-your-ground law and whether it and other laws like it enable racial biases in the name of self-defense is something that we need to address. Now in the case of Cardale Hayes who is on trial for killing Will Smith, he will be in a completely different situation then Ronald Gasser. He is guilty until proven innocent because of his race and he doesn’t have the money or the name of a Will Smith but he killed him right or wrong, and somebody has to pay for that.
Now of course I know that it isn’t everybody with these types of racial biases. I am aware that we as a country need to address the issues of race relations and quit waiting for it to go away. It is not going to go away! We as a country can’t keep acting like we are all created equal when we know we are not. I just want these athletes to be remembered for loosing their lives to gain a important conversation that needed to be had. I know that their families don’t feel good about loosing a love one, but we have to find a way to keep their glass half full.
Story Update- Cardale Hayes was found GUILTY of Manslaughter for the murder of Will Smith