Thursday, February 2, 2023
Reflection: The Good, They Do Die Young!
By Larry Buford, Contributing Writer
Published April 3, 2019

                            Larry Buford (File photo)

Dr. Martin Luther King Died 51 Years Ago. Nipsey Hussle died March 31, 2019.

This morning when I got to work, a conversation ensued about the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle on March 31.

I did not know much about him, but the younger people cited all the good things that the Grammy-nominee and former gang member had done for the community in which he grew up, and where he continued to invest his time and fortune.


When one person asked the question, “Why do those who do good get killed?” my mind immediately went to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated 51 years ago on April 4, 1968.

          Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (AP photo)

As news reports showed the saddened and bewildered crowd that had gathered at the scene where Hussle was gunned down, I remembered the sunken feeling that came over me when I heard the news about Dr. King. I thought then, “Why is the world so violent?” as it had been just a little over four years since President Kennedy met the same fate.

I remember thinking, “Why even try to do good and make a difference if somewhere out there, there’s a bullet with your name on it – contrary to the title of one of Hussle’s mixtapes, ‘Bullets Ain’t Got No Name.’”

A month before JFK died, I was writing a speech for my fifth-grade class presentation. I practiced at home, emulating JFK and others the way they pounded their fists on the podium as they spoke. I was inspired, and fascinated by the thought of becoming a great public figure.

When Dr. King died, I think something died within me and the spirit of Black men in general. Was assassination the reward for trying to do good? What good was it to aspire to become like JFK, Malcolm X or Dr. King (among so many others who were silenced)?

Then, I learned about Jesus, the Son of God who willingly gave His life on the cross to redeem us and to reconcile mankind to God. The more I learned about Him, all the good He did, the anguish He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane, and how He was obedient all the way to eternity for the joy that was set before Him; I understood purpose and destiny.

Dr. King knew his life was on the line, but as he once said, “A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live.”


So, although the hope and trust we have in mankind may fail, our hope in Jesus is an evergreen – He will never leave us nor forsake us if we believe, trust and obey God’s Word. Hussle was 33 (the same age as Jesus), Dr. King was 39. I guess the “good,” they do die young!

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand,” and “Book To The Future” on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. E-mail: [email protected]

Categories: Local | News | Religion
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