Who’s to blame? It’s time to look in the mirror!

I love to blame other people. The prices are too high! The traffic is too heavy! The political parties are too extreme! All the things that upset me each day must be somebody’s fault! 

The tragic story of an NFL football player collapsing on the field this week prompts my column today. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition in intensive care, after suffering from cardiac arrest on the field after a brutal play. 

While I appreciate and respect the dramatic response, there’s a part of me that makes me shake my head. Retired football pros tell stories about being encouraged to injure opponents, cause damage. Moments before this incident on the field, 300 lb. players were doing their best to disarm and disable their opponents. They weren’t playing tag ball. Someone injured? What a surprise! Who's really to blame here?

You probably don’t remember a boxer by the name of Davey Moore. In 1959, he won the World Featherweight Title. He lost it to Cuban Sugar Ramos in 1963. During that fight in Dodgers Stadium, Moore lost by technical knockout. He walked back to his dressing room and conducted post-fight interviews. After reporters left he complained of headaches and fell unconscious. He was taken to a hospital with inoperable brain damage. Moore never regained consciousness. 

Social activist/song writer Bob Dylan later created a piece about this incident: Who Killed Davey Moore? 

I won’t quote all of the lyrics, it would take too long. But here are some excerpts that’ll give you an idea of where I’m going with all of this. 

Who killed Davey Moore?

"Not I", said the referee

"Don't point your finger at me

“It wasn't me that made him fall

“No, you can't blame me at all"

"Not us", said the angry crowd

Whose screams filled the arena loud

"It's too bad he died that night

“But we just like to see a fight

"Not me", said his manager

Puffing on a big cigar

"It's hard to say, it's hard to tell

“I always thought that he was well

"Not me", says the gambling man

With his ticket stub still in his hand

"It wasn't me that knocked him down

My hands never touched him none

"Not me", says the boxing writer

Pounding print on his old typewriter

Sayin', "Boxing ain't to blame

“There's just as much danger in a football game"

"Not me", says the man whose fists

Laid him low in a cloud of mist

"I hit him, I hit him, yes, it's true

But that's what I am paid to do.”

It’s taking me forever to get to the point, here, but I go back to that little sign on President Harry Truman’s desk: The buck stops here! 

The focus of this column is on the State of Michigan and its treatment of our prisoners. 2023 is the year when you and I must quit pointing our fingers at the MDOC, at prison staff, at prison wardens, and at prison doctors. If old Abe Lincoln was correct in his Gettysburg address description of our government (of the people, by the people, for the people), then we must make our voices heard. You and I, the “little guys,” can and must make a difference! 

No more blaming someone else for the death of Davey Moore!



 

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