Boclair: Have we learned anything from McNair's murder?

Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 9:59am

Given the significant place that July 4 already occupies on the national calendar, it seems highly unlikely that date ever will evolve into any sort of day of mourning here in Middle Tennessee. Nor should it.

Eventually it will return to being simply the day this nation was born.

This particular July 4, however, was the first anniversary of Steve McNair’s death. It was too soon to forget what happened, and many paused for some sort of reflection.

Unlike the signing of the Declaration Of Independence, which was a clear-cut indicator that things were about to change, the murder of this town’s biggest pro sports star generated shock and dismay — and it brought about no substantive shift in the current culture.

There was hope in the days and weeks that followed that the annual fireworks display might also serve as a reminder of the red flags that were raised when the former Tennessee Titans quarterback was found shot to death in a downtown condo. Clearly, that is not the case — here or anywhere else. The prevailing mindset in the wake of all the tributes and memorial services is that McNair made a mistake, one that many others before him made and many others have made since. The only difference was the price he paid.

In the time since McNair’s murder, we’ve learned that Tiger Woods’ talents as a philanderer match his abilities on the golf course. Sandra Bullock was having the year of her life until it was revealed that her husband stepped outside their marriage.

Sports. Entertainment. Politics. It’s all celebrity, and it all thrives on the cult of personality that is so pervasive these days.

Sex is the fuel that powers that train. It’s what makes the wannabes feel like they have achieved their own bit of celebrity. It’s what makes the stars feel a certain power that is unattainable for much of normal society.

“You try to learn from everybody’s mistakes,” current Titans’ linebacker Jamie Winborn said. “[McNair] was only human, just like everybody else. Everybody has their faults, and I’m pretty sure that if you brought everybody’s skeletons out of the closet, things wouldn’t be the way they are.”

If anyone truly was affected by McNair’s death and the circumstances involved, it might have been the everyday folks in Nashville.

Nowhere in the United States is the approach to celebrity more properly proportionate than here. We don’t have paparazzi running around setting off flashes every time someone with a hit single belches after a beer. We allow some of the biggest names in the music and movie industry to move among us with virtually the same ease as a plumber or bank teller.

Until McNair, we mostly laughed at whatever personal failings might have come to light (think George Jones driving the tractor into town because his wife hid his car keys). Afterward, everyone had to acknowledge there is a dark side to celebrity.

A year later, the emotions we all experienced remain fairly fresh, although the steady stream of scandalous headlines has made that shocker seem like old news.

There’s more to come — years and celebrity missteps — and before long, July 4 will again be just another day to hold a picnic.

15 Comments on this post:

By: slzy on 7/3/10 at 8:08

as usual,if you want to avoid getting shot,fidelity to your signicant other,staying out of the drug trafficing business,avoiding alcohol,and being home by 11pm will stand you in good stead.

i think at least that much was known already before the mcnair tragedy.

By: slzy on 7/3/10 at 9:20

it may be fitting to remember the words of the late Michael Jackson:

People always told me be careful what you do

And don't go around breaking young girls hearts

And mother always told me be careful who you love

And be careful of what you do, 'cause the lie becomes the truth.

By: idgaf on 7/3/10 at 9:59

I have more compassion for her being sucked into a relationship with someone old enough to be her father and being mis-lead or mis reading what real life relationships are all about and what some people are capable achieve their own pleasure.

It is a mistake/hero worship to make him into something he was not and a diservice to the family to keep bringing up his flaws/mistakes.

You may see him one way but others see him as someone/thing else.

His life was no more important then hers and one could argue it was less.

Let the family heal.

By: craigd2599 on 7/3/10 at 10:03

I'll forego MJ references...

Here is my take. Society stopped demanding that our heroes actually BE HEROIC.
And make no mistake, being a hero on a football field is only half the deal. You must be a heroic MAN. (or woman)
You must live like others are watching...because THEY ARE.
You must live like everything will be played on a giant TV screen after you die. Because this day and will.
You must live like the man you hope your sons become, and your daughters will marry...because in both cases that is EXACTLY what will happen.
You must live as if you are the dad some little boy wishes he had...because it true. (or you are the mom some little girl wants to become.)
You must live as if you actually BELIEVE what you say you believe in church.
You must live as if you will one day meet the One Who Asks The Great Questions... and your answer actually does matter.
THAT is a hero. That could be an NFL Quarterback or a school teacher or a forklift operator.
This country needs to return to a time when what you DO does not define WHO YOU ARE. When being great at ONE thing did not instantly mean you were great.
Mark DeMoss said, in his book "The Little Red Book of Wisdom" "You don't have a lot of have it or you don't"
It's time we demand this from ourselves and from those we bestow hero stature on.

By: slzy on 7/3/10 at 12:04

you may forego MJ references if you want,but brevity being the soul of wit,you are pretty wordy craig.

By: craigd2599 on 7/3/10 at 1:59

Don't be jealous...
and ease back on the comma usage.

By: ndkbookrighter on 7/3/10 at 3:41

I was so hoping the lesson we would learn is that "no holds barred" on the handgun situation would become much more regulated and that concealed weapons permits would not be handed out willy-nilly to every Joe (or Susie) that
requests one. I was flabbergasted yesterday when I heard on the news that the powers that be are "limiting" gun purchases by the same person to one a month!!!! Why in the name of heaven does ANYONE need to buy a gun every month??? This country is so sick, from the Supreme Court right on down to city, county and state governments! We are quickly becoming a nation of--DEAD PEOPLE! A child near Nashville--a three year old--was killed just over the past week or so when it got ahold of a hand gun. I am certain this happens every day somewhere in this nation!Unfortunately, our state legislatures--and now the SUCK-a** U. S. Supreme Court-- are jumping in to make sure that the 2nd Amendment remains intact and that everyone can have a gun who wants one. The only trouble is that many adults are not responsible enough to have a handgun in their homes!

By: ndkbookrighter on 7/3/10 at 3:43


By: craigd2599 on 7/3/10 at 4:28

ndk...are you serious?

Not "everyone who wants a gun can buy one" Not even CLOSE!
and as I am sure you KNOW but will never admit because it blows your commie theory apart...McNair was killed with an illegally purchased gun bought from a felon.
Maybe if he had been awake and had his LICENSED firearm with him he could have shot her before she shot him.
Whatever is beneath a strawman just made it.

By: Beretta Shooter on 7/3/10 at 4:28

NDK, you really think it would be ok for the SCOTUS to destroy the Second Amendment to the Bill Of Rights? What would be next? The First or Fourth Amendments?
Unlike France and many other countries in Europe. In this country armed self defense is recognized as a natural right. Meaning it pre-dates the Constitution.
Why should we learn anything from McNairs death other than he was a dumb jock who did not respect his wife, family or wedding vows.
As for the one gun a month, that won't be coming to a theater near you in Tennessee. Chicago, the corrupt land of Obama perhaps, but not here.
I would agree that many adults are not responsible enough to own firearms. Unfortunately that is the price we pay for the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.
Got a problem with that? Europe is waiting for you.

By: fishfry on 7/5/10 at 1:36

NDK, children are getting killed by guns in the home because of the lack of PARENTS in the home. Any parent with a brain the size of a pea does not leave a hand-gun or any other gun loaded and with the safety off and in a place where toddlers can touch it. WHERE WERE THE PARENTS OR PARENT? Let's see: could have been asleep from a hangover, on drugs, negligent, left the child unattended, in bed with someone, outside having a brewsky - well this list could go on and on. Get the picture, children are a parent's responsibility and guns belong NO WHERE near them.

But if someone attempts to try blunt force trauma on me, I'm packin for my own protection!

By: wolfy on 7/5/10 at 8:47

Great post Craig. This might hit home with some and reveal truth.

By: fightcrib on 7/6/10 at 4:01

We learned that guns and Iranian women don't mix.

By: slzy on 7/6/10 at 4:06

good posts craig,i was just a tad grumpy at such an early hour for me.

By: localboy on 7/7/10 at 8:16

"This particular July 4, however, was the first anniversary of Steve McNair’s death. It was too soon to forget what happened, and many paused for some sort of reflection."
Sorry, didn't give it a passing thought or reflection.

"If anyone truly was affected by McNair’s death and the circumstances involved, it might have been the everyday folks in Nashville."
Nope, haven't heard it as a topic of conversation around the water cooler for months.

"A year later, the emotions we all experienced remain fairly fresh, although the steady stream of scandalous headlines has made that shocker seem like old news."
Wow, I didn't realize how traumatized we all were...