If only our M$M had many more TV stars like Garrard MCClendon

Until I learned from a family victim of yet another tragic teen black on black crime that left an elderly couple dead, I didn’t know Chicagoland TV star Garrard McClendon existed. One of three shocked, bereaving sons of the Hammond Indiana couple, it turns out McClendon has a 3 ½ hour morning show Mon-Sat on Chicagoland (cable) TV. My cable provider doesn’t include CLTV. I never thought I needed to have that Chicago Tribune owned 24-hour news outlet until a video of Garrard showed up in a Huffington Post story.

Before reading further, please watch this video where McClendon explains he has already forgiven the killers of the senseless deaths of his beloved parents that took place six days ago. Accused killers that he didn’t learn were teens until well after his forgiveness plea.

For every murder there are many victims both family and friends of the victim and of the killer who few recognize as victims. Family and friends of the killer are almost exclusively ignored by social aid groups and the media. Instead the media will focus only on the bereaving family and as investigation, arrest and trial takes place, we often hear how the bereaving victim family will not rest and find peace until the killers are sent to prison for life or death.

Our American society decided in the early days of our country that retribution and punishment/execution brought peace for all innocents involved. We have maintained that damaging stance through to today even though some of the native American tribes we gravely harmed could have taught us a better form of justice and peace.

In the clip you watched and news reports of it, McClendon said, “It’s painful, it hurts…The vision of my parents being murdered is unbelievable. . .I can’t get that vision out of my head.” McClendon said he went to the morgue to identify his parents, Milton and Ruby McClendon, after they were discovered shot to death in a forest preserve near Calumet City Monday afternoon.

He said the trip to the morgue was “the most surreal situation I’ve ever been in in my life.” Still, the CLTV host said he has “forgiven the perpetrators. Do I want them caught? Of course. … But I can’t live a productive life just in constant pain. …Yes, I want justice served.”

“My parents were my heroes… They were beautiful people. …My mother was my biggest fan. …My dad constantly bragged on all three of us (me and my two brothers). I can’t ask for any more.”

Asked how he wants his parents to be remembered, McClendon said they “need to be honored by the everyday person being a good person …making sure the average person has a quality of life that is a good quality of life.”

When he was driving to his parents’ home after being told of the murders, McClendon said he asked, “Why me?… As I got closer to home, I said… ‘Why not? I’m not special. It happens to 500 people a year in Chicago.”

So I learned from the clip and news reports that Garrard McClendon is one impressive human being who deserves to be admired and listened to. He quickly turned his bursting emotions into helping others and now that I have checked out his show’s website, I know that is how he does his show and lives his life.

This is how he is described by CLTV:

Garrard McClendon is the host of “Garrard McClendon Live” on CLTV in Chicago. Covering news, views, and controversial commentary on today’s stories, Garrard seeks to look at all side of arguments by letting viewers call the show and voice their opinions. Garrard is also a professor, writer, diversity trainer. He authored the book Ax or Ask? : The African American Guide to Better English to assist African Americans with pronunciation and a better understanding of English. Currently, he is completing his Ph.D. at Loyola University.

I’m sure many who watched the video clip or read the news reports asked themselves, “How could he do that? How could he forgive the killers so soon?

An ancient Greek proverb contains part of the answer, “Hate destroys the vessel that contains it.” The real answer seems obvious to me. It’s because of what his parents and some wise community members taught him about conflict resolution, love and forgiveness. It’s the only real answer to black on black crime and tragedy.

It’s an answer that mostly is ignored as too many black parents, and parents of every nationality, still teach their children violence is a good way to solve problems because you have to fight for your self respect. Those who survived a tough childhood environment and who have succeeded at least monetarily will say, “My parents beat me when I deserved it and look how I turned out.”

Look how our ghetto communities have turned out. Our president on down decries the gangs, death and violence in or near our schools, yet it goes on unabated despite all the pleadings by community leaders, repeated over and over, year after year.

It’s an answer that American society has to stand accountable for because of our archaic penal and “justice” system and method of teaching conflict resolution. The only real answer lies with Garrard’s wonderful parents and how he has honored their life and death.


  1. cocktailhag says:

    What an uplifting story; and what a nice counterpart to the revenge-driven “victims’ rights” movement, which I think is at least in part driven by the prison-industrial complex. The cruel joke of it is that people come to expect the “closure” they’ve been promised when the perpetrators are jailed or killed, and find no such thing. Closure is a process that comes from within, and it isn’t delivered by either the media or the justice system. Great post.

    • dirigo says:

      “Hate destroys the vessel that contains it.”

      Boy, I love this. Leave it to the Greeks.

      I think Hag is right. The expectation on the part of people who have been harmed in some way – whether within their family, on the street, in school, or as part of any inherently bruising interaction with the government (including serving in the military) – that they can be made “whole,” or simply not be a “victim” any more is unrealistic.

      Here’s another pithy quote …

      “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

      – - – Ernest Hemingway

      Notice Papa says only some emerge strong after breaking. Nature destroys life wholesale and indiscriminately.

      For some time, a whole segment of pop culture, in talk show after talk show, has paraded before us one victim story after another. Sales of crying towels have soared. Victims are stock characters in daily news reports. A lot of pop therapists have made a good living peddling the idea that anyone who’s ever been hurt in life is a “victim.” A good part of the contemporary non-fiction memoir genre is written by a “victim.” And yes, the government in certain ways holds out the false promise of “closure” for many bruises associated with simply living.

      Of course, doing nothing as a response to being hurt is not an option. In the case of Mr. McClendon, trying to forgive while seeking justice is admirable.

      Making a thing – a system like government – perform perfectly in rebuilding lives, or making people totally whole through compensation, or by punishing lawbreakers, is not possible.

      Reform is always possible though, and it may be more likely, from issue to issue, when tied to genuinely compassionate advocacy.

      • dirigo says:

        One more Hemingway …

        “You can wipe out your opponents. But if you do it unjustly you become eligible for being wiped out yourself.”

    • skeptic says:

      There’s that saying about Sunday being the most segregated day of the week.

      Well, here is more proof. While white christianists are in church obsessing about the Old Testament, African-Americans are in church learning to live according to the New Testament.

      Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the Bible, but I do take notice of who uses it and how.

  2. rmp says:

    I just got back from the school playground with my grandsons. Great quotes and comments. It gets down to understanding personal responsibility for everything that happens or at least trying to find if you played some kind of a role versus blaming others or even things. That’s what the right wing and far too many selfish Americans do. Blame so you can escape responsibility even if you have done something as terrible as support large, unnecessary wars. That’s the major reason people don’t learn from history and keep repeating it no matter how terrible it was the last time. For the Israelis it was Hitler, then the Arabs and Muslims, so they murder Palestinians in Gaza and can’t see they are as terrible as Hitler.

    You’re so right about victimization Dirigo. When you see yourself as only a victim, you either remain wallowing in self-pity, blaming and refusing to help yourself or you strike back with violence saying to yourself, if they think I am worthless than I will live up to their expectations.

    In both cases, you are giving your power and life over to others something Ernest would not countenance.

  3. dirigo says:

    I’m a quote maven. Here’s one I used in an earlier post here at cocktailhag.com recently:

    “The real voyage of discovery counts not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

    – - – Marcel Proust

    • skeptic says:

      On a related tangent, Dirigo…

      Whenever Jane Austen puts a character into a chaise, coach, curricle, or any other kind of carriage, and shows us the trip, it is always because they must see something new, and often uncomfortable.

      She never has them take a trip just to move them from one place to another. There is always an inner journey, some new insight. Unfortunately, those epiphanies are usually lost in films.

      • dirigo says:

        Thanks, skeptic. You motivate me to get back into Austen’s writing. No doubt, seeing will be believing.

        • skeptic says:

          Reading, maybe… even the films and mini-series that I like, leave out so many of the inner thoughts and emotions. Those who see only the films, etc., miss a lot.

  4. dirigo says:

    What an amazing young woman …