A wrap-up of the early Monday links on the Jasper Howard tragedy is below, but first a short personal note:
I don't presume to speak for the other writers on the blog, but when tragedy hits me closely - and a UConn student being killed in the center of the campus I called home for four years fits that description - I can only respond with a sad nod to what we've lost and then try to lighten the mood. That's all I know.
Jasper Howard's murder is a shocking reminder that we're only as safe as the people who surround us. If this can happen on a rural campus, it can happen anywhere, and we would do well to remember that not everybody appreciates the value of human life at all times. Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy to realize that UConn students and alumni are a family with a shared heritage, and we all grieve together.
With that said, I think it only right that we - meaning this blog - try to move on as best we can. I understand many will not want to read about football and basketball and soccer this week, and that's OK.
But there's nothing more we can do for Jasper Howard. We can only spread the word on any memorials in his honor, and we can only offer our support to the Howard family and the UConn community, of which we alumni are included.
The three of us, it should be noted, are clowns. We make attempted funny jokes and talk about sports. I hope you'll understand we mean no disrespect to the family and friends by making jokes about ultimately-meaningless sporting events played by 19-to-22-year-old kids. It's just our nature. Please know that it will absolutely feel strange to go back to making sarcastic jokes about Jonathan Mandeldove, and especially strange to go back to talking about football, which we will inevitably do.
For the moment, our thoughts are still on Jasper. Here's a list of up-to-date (as of 2:00 Monday) stories:
- Latest news updates: WTNH is reporting that the second stab victim, who was treated and released Sunday, was Brian Parker, a redshirting freshman wide receiver; the police made an arrest, but they say it's not the suspected killer; an autopsy shows that Howard died of a single stab wound to the abdomen; ESPN's Outside The Lines appears to be dedicating its Monday show to the Howard story, so check for that online later tonight.
- Gutwrenching video interviews: Jasper's mother, Joaniqua, Desi Cullen, and Randy Edsall
- Campus reactions: Facebook groups in memory of Howard reach 4,000 and 5,300 members; the Courant has a photo gallery of a campus in mourning; both the Courant and Journal-Inquirer talked directly to students
- A round-up of Randy Edsall's Monday Big East conference call can be found at Fanhouse. You should read the whole thing, but two things stuck out to me: 1) according to Edsall, two of Howard's teammates (both unnamed) were by his side at the time he was stabbed; 2) UConn will honor Howard with helmet decals, while West Virginia will be planning their own ceremony for when the Huskies visit Saturday
- John Silver of the J-I, details the reaction of team members. On his blog, he's also got stories and his own personal reaction to Jazz's murder
- The Daily Campus has a pretty thorough summary of Saturday's tragic events and all the information we knew up to this morning
- Speaking of our old stomping grounds, Russ Blair has a couple of very nice pieces over at the Examiner and at the DC itself. I'm also told the front page of their sports section is a picture of Jasper, and if someone out in Storrs could find a way to send me a PDF, I'd love to post it here.