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John DeShazier: Will Smith's killing an unconscionable tragedy

DeShazier: 'What matters is that a husband and father is gone, and that there is no rational reason for his death'

Photos of Will Smith during his time with the New Orleans Saints.

Will Smith Killed





Scroll through the rolodex of terms for this one, to try to find a description or a context for former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith being gunned down and his wife being shot twice Saturday night following an apparent road rage incident, and the one you're looking for probably isn't in there.

I get paid to do this, to produce words that fit occasions, and it's pretty daunting even for me.

Not that we've become calloused to the fact that mankind's atrocities to man appear to know no bounds. We've seen and heard just about all there is to see and hear, and when we see or hear another addition it almost can become white noise in the background.

But when you know the victim, it takes on a different meaning.

Will Smith and his family were members of the Saints family. If you knew him, you probably felt like he was a member of *your *family. And when it's your family, it's difficult enough to deal with when the passing is of natural causes, with the sibling having lived a long and productive life.

When the victim is 34 years old, a little more than a handful of years away from winning a Super Bowl, less than a handful away from having retired and less than that from you having seen him and greeted him and spoken to him and seen him smile and laugh, then your foundation shakes a little and the world seems a lot less loving – and exponentially less safe – than it appeared to be a few days, hours or minutes ago.

It doesn't much matter right now that Smith produced 67.5 sacks as a Saint, good for fourth-most in franchise history. Or that he played in a Pro Bowl. Or that he was a team captain and leader, a sage and calm voice amid winning streaks and losing streaks and successful and unsuccessful seasons.

New Orleans Saints linebacker Will Smith and his wife Racquel hosted a holiday party benefiting Kingsley House on Monday, December 23. New Orleans Saints photos.

It doesn't matter that he never exuded anything but class, whether he was having great statistical success or he was slowed by injury and criticized because his production didn't match the previous year's production, or because people questioned whether he was worth the salary he was receiving.

What matters is that a husband and father is gone, and that there is no rational reason for his death. What matters is that, yet again, a difference couldn't be settled in a logical manner, that violence became the choice of resolution because…because…because…

There is no ending to that thought, because it's hard to think of a single time when violence – specifically, producing a weapon and gunning down a man, and shooting that man's wife, due to a minor traffic accident that the victim didn't even cause – is a sane resolution.

There's no time when the exchange of harsh words, as was reported to be the case here, should be cause for the ending of a life.

The Saints lost a family member Saturday night and if you met Will Smith and got to know him, you did, too.

No word can describe it, place it in perspective, provide comfort for it.

We pray for the Smith family, and we offer our condolences, and we extend our support to his wife and children.

But theirs is a loss that never can be recovered. And every time something like this happens to someone we know, we lose a little something that can't be recovered, too.

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