A gentle giant who didn’t need to die like this

Once again people haven’t disappointed me with their inhumanity to their fellow man. Just when you think we can’t be any more horrible as people comes yet another example of how we mistreat one another.
Philly.com writer Joseph Santoliquito has written a story about Christian Massey who was killed Saturday in Overbrook, shot in the chest in the driveway of a home on Lebanon Avenue near 58th Street. Here’s a link to Joe’s story: http://bit.ly/1cjSiam.
It turns out that Christian Massey wasn’t just any kid. According to the Philly.com story, he was “a hulking 6-foot-2, 300-pound mentally challenged 21-year-old.” He attended Marple-Newtown schools for six years.

According to Santoliquito’s story, “He went from the now-defunct Don Guanella School, an Archdiocese of Philadelphia facility for special-needs boys in Springfield, Delaware County, to being mainstreamed into the Marple-Newtown School District. As part of a special program Marple-Newtown had in conjunction with Don Guanella, Massey was able to play two years of varsity football and one year of varsity basketball for the Tigers.”

Sounds like Massey was a school favorite; he loved to get along with people and participated in a bunch of sports. He even played goalie for the lacrosse team because they didn’t have one. From all accounts he was just a giant of a man, large in stature and even larger in heart. While he may have been mentally challenged he never let that get him down and in fact, was an inspiration for many at the school.

So why someone would shoot him for a $300 pair of headphones no one knows other than the shooter has no heart. And I believe that. That’s the inhumanity to each other that I speak of – the antithesis of what Massey seemed to be like.

Writes Santoliquito: “Christian was a great kid who was also a responsible kid, too, and let you know when or if he wasn’t able to make practice,” Marple Newtown football coach Ray Gionta said. “Athletically, he had some ability. He was a big kid who could move. Knowing Christian and what I know about the shooting, there probably wasn’t any confrontation. He would avoided that at all costs. He didn’t have a mean streak in his body. The kids absolutely loved Christian.”

Which is what makes this story even more tragic. This was a killing that didn’t have to happen. Christian apparently struggled with the robber before getting shot. And he even told police on the way to the hospital that it was over the headphones. So now we have a young man’s life worth $300. Is this the way it’s going to go from now on? People shooting people over headphones?

It’s a sad state of affairs and it’s something most of us struggle to understand. Normal people don’t go around robbing, stealing and shooting. But we are living with an element of people who have no respect for life and would kill you for a set of headphones worth $3 let alone $300.

I feel bad for Christian’s family, his schoolmates and all who knew him. He sounds like the kind of person who would have gladly let you borrow his headphones. He seemed to be a kind soul. And I wonder what made him decide to fight for them other than he knew stealing them was wrong.

It’s a shame that this had to end this way.

— Andy Hachadorian

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About fromtheeditorchair

I am the editor of the Daily Local News.
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