Chris' Corner: Death in Monday Morning News - Part One

Death in Monday Morning News - Part One

I wanted to comment on this Monday, but my thoughts were still raw and not coherent.

I usually watch Breakfast Television (a local CITY TV network news/variety morning show) as I wake to get the first cut local, national and international news and local weather most weekday mornings. I even record it on my PVR (personal video recorder) so I can bypass commercials and skip repeated traffic and weather.

Death is a certainty for all of us and is a constant reality these days.  We see much too much of it in this day and age of instant access twenty-four hour news.

There were two reports that disturbed me, on different levels Monday morning.  The first, a 42 year old man, was killed at The Putting Edge, a local Barrie indoor mini-put golf course that Helen, Alec and I frequently play at.  It is an indoor black-light lit course with glow in the dark paints that we enjoy.  Often, depending on material and colour, our clothes and shoes will glow in the dark also.

He was there with his girlfriend and her two children on Sunday night.  At approximately 9:30 p.m, he was involved in an altercation with a group of teenagers (apparently over rowdy and/or obnoxious behaviour).  He was stabbed in the neck with a broken golf club and died.  Three Innisfil (another local town) teenagers (two of them brothers) have been charged with second degree murder. 

On further reflection, I feel this affected me, because: 

1) We go there often and have had much fun and laughter there, as I feel was the intention of the parties there Sunday night;

2) Perhaps because I think of mini-golf as a safe family friendly activity;

3)  That this sort of interaction happens often in the course of a day in a city, and that it was the particular escalation and reactions that probably led to a man's (senseless to me) death;

4)  The loss to the man's family and friends and also to the families and friends of the teenagers involved;

My heart goes out to the friends and family of the man who died, and to the teenagers, their friends and families for the burden they will have to bear as a consequence of fleeting actions.

I do not believe, if these young boys/men had the time to think things through, if they considered possible consequences (to others and to themselves) of their actions, that they would have pursued the course of action that led to their life ending and forever changing choice.

As the father of a seven year old, who, on occasion has issues handling his emotions, I wonder what I need to do to help him handle his emotions so something like this (even without the tragic result) will never happen and also how to avoid an altercation with other people who may not be able to handle their emotions.

Helen and I knew that there might be a tendency for Alec be emotionally volatile (genetics), and have worked with him, since before he could talk, to help him understand, that though he might feel angry and have seemingly uncontrollable emotions, it is important that he learns to control his emotions and control his actions based on emotions that is important. 

We have given him a number of methods he could choose to use when he starts to feel his emotions rising to help calm him down.

We have been teaching him and he is starting to understand, that when he is emotional, it is much harder for him to make good choices, and he has learned that when his is calmer, he can find solutions to problems and make better choices.

We have been working with him to help him understand that though he cannot control what other people do and all the things that happens to him, he can control how he chooses to react to these things...

This "news", two days ago has saddened me, and has made me think what else do I need to teach my son so that he will never be on either end of an altercation like this.

Chris Smith CSSBB
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Comment balloon 6 commentsChris Smith • August 17 2011 12:05PM


Good afternoon Chris. Way too many kids are raising themselves due to poor parenting or both parents needing to work to make ends meet. I worry something has been lost in our hyper fast world and it is good to hear when a parent is involved like you. I would have thought putt putt golf would have been a safe place too. Scary world we live in.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 9 years ago

Randy, I feel the same way.  Unfortunately, we cannot control the parenting choices of others and have to raise our children to be able to handle situations that would have been unthinkable when we were there age...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Chris, Unfortunately the world is changing and evolving into a confrontational environment where people feel inclined to take action first without thinking through to the consequences that await them once the harm has been done. All we can do is continue to teach our children how to cope and act and react and hope that other parents are doing the same. Obviously many aren't...referring back to that story.

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Red Rock Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Wanda, we as a society, and each family in particular, need to assess or re-assess our own values and how we are imparting them into future generations.  Respect for elders, all people, all living things need to be instilled from an early age.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Chris, how horrible. And you are right, the teens lives have been shattered too. What a horrific loss this is all the way around.

I don't know how to come to terms with things like this. We can do our best to make sure those we love, our children and grandchildren, learn to cope. You are doing a wonderful thing with your son, and in a way it is a great tribute to the man who died.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 9 years ago

Andrea, what happened was a series of escalations that ended tragically.  On reflection, each party could probably thought of actions and reactions that could have happened.  In an instant, there was no turning back...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago