Like most people, I've spent the last day really thinking about Aaron Hernandez. In the week prior, i thought about him too, but less so. I never for a second expected that he would actually be charged with murder, let alone be a suspect in three. Seems like the old go-get-em spirit of the successful Patriots to "do what anyone else would do, plus three more!"
Thinking about the case yesterday, when Hernandez was only a lowly single-murder suspect, I was trying to piece together how a person could do something like that. I am rarely afforded the opportunity to think about murder, and what kind of intestinal fortitude it actually takes to end someone else's life, but when it happens to somebody you're that familiar with then murder takes another turn.
Now all of a sudden, murder is a real thing and it's something you are forced to think about.
Somebody, whether it was Hernandez or not, shot Odin Lloyd. Multiple times. They made sure he was dead. Then they left his body there and left, and if it was Hernandez, he either had so little regard for Lloyd or such high regard for himself, that efforts to cover it up were akin to the efforts put in by the Chiefs under Romeo Crennel at the end of last season.
"Meh. Nobody's gonna care at this point."
If I told you that two gang members shot and killed another gang member in Watts last night, you might not think twice about it. That's "the gang life." That's a culture you've come to accept thanks to Boyz n da Hood and Menace II Society unless you've actually lived in or near a bad neighborhood. We don't really accept the fact that so many of our real world opinions come from the media, both fact and fiction, and yet we treat many of those opinions as reality.
But it's not reality.
Would your life make for a good reality show? Probably not. I know that my reality show would feature about 75% of me on a computer and 25% that needs to have that blurry pixelation over my junk.
Reality is rarely interesting, so your opinion of Compton, Crenshaw, the LBC, and Watts might not be the truth. I found that out when I moved to southern California, worked in "bad neighborhoods," shop at Target and the grocery store in Compton, and found out that it's hardly any more dangerous than getting shot in Ballard. I'm not saying i'd go walking down "the jungle" while pigeons are released or anything, but the reality you see on TV and the actual reality are still plenty disjointed.
But trust me. When a gang member gets killed in Compton, he had the same number of lives as Odin Lloyd. Neither gets a second chance. Someone killed Lloyd a few weeks ago, and someone killed two people in Downtown Boston last year. It couldn't be Hernandez though, right? He's too... rich. Famous. Good-looking. Why would he throw it all away?
I'm not saying that he did kill any of these people, but it's certainly possible that he did. Because the reality you have of Aaron Hernandez and the actual reality, are still plenty disjointed.
It's easy to forget that most of what you know about an athlete, or most celebrities, is what's presented to you on a television. When a player is on the field, he's working. When he's giving an interview, he's working. When he's at a press conference, he's at work. It's always meant to be your best foot forward. I start to think about myself at work and I wonder, "How much do my co-workers really know about me?"
Character comes through. Attitude and behavior comes through. But few of them know what I'm like outside of the office. When I'm not doing things to earn a living. When I'm around the people that make me the most comfortable. You feel like when you see Russell Wilson on the TV, that you're seeing Russell Wilson.
You're seeing the best of Russell Wilson.
I highly doubt that Wilson is running an "underground ring" of any sort (no underground rings are good, including the one right to bind them all, even that had to get thrown into a mountain of hot liquid magma) but the truth is that you pretty much only know the things about Wilson that you are meant to know, and he's likely the most high-profile player on the team.
What do you know about Earl Thomas? Where was Zach Miller last night? What does K.J. Wright do when nobody's watching? I dance when nobody's watching. Or at least, that's what I want you to think.
It is strange that Hernandez could be involved in three murders, in comparison to say someone that actually has to think about how they'll find their next meal. Or grew up in an environment where they believed by age 10 that they had to sell drugs to survive. But Hernandez is still a human being, and it's difficult to wrap your mind around why any human being would take someone else's life.
What's happening to Aaron Hernandez right now is basically unprecedented. O.J. Simpson's occurred long after his career was over, while Hernandez may have thrown everything away when he was only just beginning. How could he do something like that? Why would he?
I don't know. Because I don't know Hernandez, and I don't know any Seahawks, and even many of my own co-workers, or former schoolmates, or even Subway sandwich artists, are people that I've only scratched the surface of.
I don't know if Aaron Hernandez has ever killed anyone, but I believe that it's possible. Because Hernandez is a person, and we are fucked up.