Just like moments after 9/11 when trash tried to take advantage of grieving and scared Americans, there are always some members of the garbage society that wants to make a name for themselves or take advantage of tragedy.
Kobe Bryant is dead. He died because he had the ability to buy a helicopter and ensure safer travels that most of us in our piddling cars, and suffered a tragic, rare death.
The memories flooded and the remembrances led to tears and more grief for so many.
Also, his 13-year-old daughter Gigi died as well as the two were headed to a basketball tournament along with a few other of the seven remaining passengers and pilot onboard.
It didn’t take long for the whiners and cockroaches to come out of the dark though, did it?
“OH MY GOD! Why are they talking about Kobe! Why aren’t they talking about the other seven people who died!”
I texted my mother something about this that only in America has our sense of entitlement gotten so bad that we now fight to entitle dead people we don’t even know.
Ironically? Those seven “other” victims of the crash are getting more attention now than they would have if they had died while Kobe and Gigi made that tournament and were alive today.
Kobe’s death made them more remembered than they would have been with the headline of “Seven people die in copter crash.” Their lives now have more meaning to more people because of the death of Kobe Bryant.
Some of the positive rhetoric directed at him? Surely some is hyperbole in the face of not speaking ill of the dead.
Then of course, there is the Half Truth Media – my term for the alleged and overused Fake News label.
I am going to share that my life has been shaped by the rapes of important women in my life.
I lost the love of my life to a breakdown when the burden of carrying five years of child rapes at the hands of a family peer became too much. I watched a nice woman who happened to be my grandmother, struggle with the trauma of over a half-dozen rapes at the hands of both Nazis and Stalin’s Army, give herself three abortions with coat hangers and tell me years later, “I am surprised you and your mother were even born because I didn’t think I had a uterus left.”
I also had a dear friend raped and impregnated as her first act of intimacy at a party I ditched her at because I was a jerk.
She was 14. I have never forgiven myself.
That being said, I still believe the truth stands for something and if we don’t know all of it, we must acknowledge what we do and take it for it is.
Many are bringing back up the rape allegations of 2003 when Kobe was accused of assaulting a young woman.
Appropriate or not, the reality is this: Our job in the media is to report the facts we know.
So now, the half-truth media is out in full force slamming a dead man implying he was a “rapist” and we shouldn’t forget that.
All that we should remember is that half-truths are not whole stories and there is much more facts than his critics are willing to share.
If they did, it might paint their narratives in a different light.
Or is it the fairer light?
But as journalists we need to be responsible to all of those innocent and guilty.
To those alive.
To those dead.
While Kobe is no longer with us, I choose to remember his body of work as a whole - mistakes and successes in equal measure.
That is hard because even though I won’t ignore the complaints of him being a bad teammate at times, the reality is he was one of the greatest competitors we have ever seen.
As he grew, he began to share that wisdom with younger players and pass on those lessons. With age, came children and that was in the form of four daughters.
Kids can change people for the better and I believe that as he matured as a man he did so as a dad and that created a more nurturing side of the person he would be when he left this world.
He died an intellectual and a warrior. But knowing that one of the greats who would finish a game shooting his free throws after tearing his Achilles, likely cowered with his child, helpless on a crashing helicopter, with his last breaths on earth?
That in itself is too sad to grasp and way too much to accept.
But I do. It’s life. One I still have and am grateful for. It was also one that somewhere along the line, Kobe Bryant was too and started figuring things out.
We should all be so lucky.
Alan Dale is the Baytown Sun sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org