Larry Blustein

FRIDAY FOCUS: Joshua Ancrum Tragedy Is Indeed Tough To Take

Larry Blustein
May 24, 2019 - 11:08 am

It’s been a few days since the tragic shooting of one-time area high school football standout Joshua “Josh” Acrum, and the hurt around south Florida and this tight community just won’t go away.

While anger is the first emotion that comes to mind, you have to take a step back and understand that this will happen again - and again - tragically, again!

Coming to grips with the loss of anyone is tough, but losing a child is so difficult for any of us to comprehend.

While you can host as many community meetings or rallies against gun control and this senseless violence, you won’t even dent what 2019 is all about. This is a culture that is out of control - and truly without adult accountability.

How many out there have a laundry list of questions in these tough days after yet another promising student/athlete loses his life and tears apart a community and a culture that has done its best to protect? I have a million.

As an OG (old guy), I have see everything on the streets. I grew up in Miami - and for the past six decades have been in - and around some of the toughest neighborhoods in America - trying to do my part to ensure that these young men and women can wake up and feel positive about themselves. So have thousands of others who have been positive role models.

We are a culture that has long attempted to get it right, and as fingers are pointed in every direction, perhaps looking at each tragedy individually will illustrate that everything starts at home - or the lack of a home.

How many times have we sat at a youth football game and there is mom and grand-mom there supporting and doing their best - when this family unit has long been split up?

A good friend once told me that the females are the strength of any family - and they will do their best to keep things together, even when their own world has been turned upside down.

No matter where it is these days, many children start their lives in a hole. Many are products of terrible environments, where family units do not exist. It is a culture where guns and drugs are introduced at a very young age, and while law enforcement continues to close the gap, it only widens when a 16-year-old, who should be in school, trying to make something of themselves, has easy access to a firearm.

It’s not a black or white thing. What it has come down to, with every race or nationality, is not being accountable for having children and taking care of them. It is merely a cycle that has been passed down through generations, and what happened earlier this week is just the end result of another adult NOT taking responsibility and being a figure to look up to and admire.

What the news or police reports say are after the fact and often wrong. While they will tell you what they have to - most have no clue that there is so much going on behind the walls of an environment that should be safe.

It’s not just about Miami Gardens, Liberty City or Overtown. The focus is not just on low poverty communities, but it often comes down to the adults - and that has long been a problem.

The reason why community forums are useless is the only ones who show up are NOT the problem. Reaching the root of what happened this past week to someone who was on a path to good has been nearly impossible, and all the pep talks from law enforcement is hollow - and will always be.

Community activists try as hard as they can, but at the end of the day, another youngster will be killed by someone who has NO value of life - and that is something that will never be controlled.

Reaching the root of this problem is impossible. Not taking away what any of these groups are attempting to do, but peer pressure has become so rampant that if the upbringing has not been a positive one, you lose these kids to the streets - fast!

Having been a realist when it comes to gun control - you have to understand that it is a mental health problem. Sick minds only fester and grow when there is no adult to lead the way.

Parents who have done right and have been accountable for their families are scared to death that what happened to Josh Ancrum will rear its ugly head in their world. You cannot control what you have no grip on - no matter how we try.

In my years of covering high school athletics, I have understood that nobody should ever pass judgment on the way anyone lives, but walking into small apartments with six children, a gun on the table, surrounded by drugs has unfortunately become the norm.

The only thing we can do is be there and continue to do our part to make this as safe an environment as possible. But understand this will NOT go away, and while it hurts, it’s where we are in 2019!

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Monday night (7-8) on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). For the past 12 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!