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In my world, I tend to follow what's trending.  Sometimes it's a person who did something amazing and you will see the name up on the screen, that screen being a computer screen, and the source of the trend I follow is Twitter.com.  Twitter is and will likely be, according to me, a very integral part of how public policy is shaped in the future. I am not speaking out of turn when I say this, or about something I know nothing about.  I have achieved a very high level of learning when it comes to what shapes public policy and am educated in that regard, so this is something I feel comfortable predicting.  I make the prediction based on a PhD level of education.  I know nothing at all, however, about what is involved in racing an automobile.

Yesterday, during the @MorningMichelle show, a show that focuses on social trends and social issues in sports, I had the opportunity to speak with Bram Maravent, a former journalist and producer with CNN.  Mr. Maravent is an associate at Goren, Cherof, Doody & Ezrol, P.A.  He is a member of the firm's Government Practice and represents both public and private clients in areas of the law.  His experience includes being a former CNN sports anchor, reporter and producer, and he has written on matters involving sports business and legal issues.  

Attached to this article, is the podcast of my conversation with Bram.  At the very beginning of the article, Bram reminds us that what matters most here is that a young man lost his life.  That man's name was Kevin Ward, Jr. and as reported by Jeff Gluck, USA Today Sports August 11, 2014, "Kevin Ward Jr died of "massive blunt trauma" according to the Ontario County coroner [ see Autopsy: Kevin Ward Jr. died of massive blunt trauma, www.stargazette.com ] Kevin Ward, Jr. was twenty years old.  

As I watched the trends this weekend, and soon after my morning show, I received several direct messages about the incident.  Many people were quick to judge Tony Stewart, for failing to act in a manner that would have prevented the tragedy.  The tweets were inclusive of comments that brought to light the past behavior of Tony Stewart, and although many acknowledged that Kevin Ward, Jr. was wrong to exit his vehicle prior to incident that caused his death, said that Stewart could have prevented the accident.  

What do I know about judging Tony Stewart?  I know that it's best not to rush to judgment.  I know that it's also best to allow experts who understand the mechanics of a car and what's involved with the particulars of racing to do their assessments.  I also know, though, that anytime someone has a propensity toward aggressive and violent behavior, that this behavior often escalates.  It's so important to be mindful of how one impulsive action can result in a tragedy.  We saw recently how a professional football player could make a wrong decision and luckily in this event [ I'm speaking about the alleged assault committed by Ray Rice to his then girlfriend/ now wife ] did not result in a more serious injury.

I won't judge Tony Stewart on something I know absolutely nothing about, and that is whether he could have avoided the accident.  I won't judge Kevin Ward, Jr. for getting out of his car because apparently this sort of thing happens in racing.  I will look to the authorities who have said that they plan to conduct a full and thorough investigation.  I think it's prudent to wait.  There are so many variables, and issues that come into play when something like this happens, and while human beings seem to want to blame someone or something at times, there are also times when accidents happen and looking back there is always a way to avoid a tragedy.  It's often easier to look back and know what the right choice to make would have been. 

Propensity toward impulsive and reactionary behavior, and having aggressive patterns is not anything that could allow one to truly convict a man of murder when using 'beyond a reasonable doubt' is the criteria.  Those patterns may be more prevalent in a civil matter where preponderance of evidence is the criteria, but even then the assumption of risk might be a factor that would cause another to argue that Mr. Stewart was in no way responsible for the tragedy.  

What matters most, in times like this, is that we take a moment to pay tribute to the young man who lost his life.  While it may seem like nothing much, offering prayers to the family, friends and fans [ especially those who were in attendance and witnessed the tragedy ] is something that I would want to do.  It may not be much, but it's just a way of taking a moment to share compassion for those who will never again see someone they loved.  That's something I find so sad.  Death is final, as far as we know.  So rather than judge Tony Stewart, I will take a moment to think of those who lost someone they love.  

I was surprised to see that there was no tribute other than a tweet that was sent by Tony about the matter, on his official website [ www.tonystewart.com ].  Sure it might not be much, but I think that's something that would have been appropriate but I guess no matter what he does now, someone is bound to have something to say.  So I guess doing nothing, other than sharing a tweet was all he felt he should do.  Below is what is written, in a tweet shared by Tony Stewart, on August 10th at 11:16 am:

Watkins Glen, N. Y, { Aug 10, 2014 } The following is a statement from Tony Stewart regarding the fatal accident lat night during the spring car feature at Canandaigua { N.Y.} Motorsports Park involving Kevin Ward, Jr. "There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward, Jr. It's a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason Iv'e decided not to participate in today's race at Watkins Glen.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friend and everyone affected by this tragedy."  

I think that it's going to be talked about for a long time, as far as what if anything Tony Stewart should or shouldn't have done to prevent this accident.  Additionally, getting out of your car in the middle of a high speed race, might be a thing of the past.  Sadly, too many times it takes the death of someone to create change.  I'm sorry that this young man lost his life, and I will resist placing blame and look toward ways that tragedies like this can be prevented from happening in the future.