Mother, Mother

There’s too many of you crying

Brother, Brother, Brother

There’s far too many of you dying

You know we’ve got to find a way

To bring some lovin’ here today

You see, war is not the answer

For only love can conquer hate

Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me, so you can see

Oh, what’s going on

-Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”

These profound lyrics from the late, great Marvin Gaye are a powerful and important reminder that, in order for all to live in peace and security, we cannot seek to enact violence on others, but seek peace and love regardless of any differences and beliefs.

The tragic and unexpected passing of Jeffrey Bordeaux, Jr. on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 15 is a clear example of how we, as people, fail to seek peace, reasoning, and to use love to resolve our own issues. Instead, we allow uncontrolled anger and irrational behavior to influence our decisions. It is crucial to our very existence that all of us, despite any problems or differences we may have, learn from this incident and tragedy beforehand, so that we may not let this history repeat itself.

I write this as an individual who knew Jeff as a friend and a brother. He was always a good spirited and kind-hearted young man that was full of life and had great ambition. He had the whole world before him, yet his life was tragically cut short after only 20 years. Many here will say that we will learn from this experience and will not allow something like this to happen again.

Yet, I fear so many of us will not totally understand the significance of this event, and will eventually dismiss it sooner or later with the attitude, “That will never happen to me,” “I know better” or “I will never get involved in a situation like that.” Think about Virginia Tech in 2007 before the mass killing. Everyday college students like us were going about their everyday lives. No one expected to be killed or involved in a mass shooting which would take 33 innocent lives and scar so many others forever.

It is urgent now, five, 10, 50 years from now and through the rest of our existence that we learn from this. We all know that we are human, make mistakes and are not perfect. Practicing to love fellow brethren and walking in peace and humility is an area in which all of us can improve, no matter how young or old we are; no matter how aggressive or tranquil we may be.

Though this unfortunate circumstance cannot be reversed, let us try not to walk with anger, animosity or regret within our hearts toward anyone, no matter the pain or hurt. Let this become a time of open-minded awareness and healing for the heart. My heart and condolences go out to the Bordeaux family regarding the loss of their own, Jeff. My heart and condolences also go out Daren Venable and his family regarding their situation. Neither will be forgotten. No one is a winner in this terrible situation.

However, all of us should not lose hope to live a better life and to continue to make a better society and a better world. Remember, it all begins with the individual and our conscience of choice. May we choose peace, love and happiness!

For anyone who wishes to pay respects to Jeffrey Bordeaux, Jr., Memorial services will be held on Friday, Jan. 21, at 11 a.m. at Aenon Missionary Baptist Church, 174 Genesee Street, in Rochester. The University will provide bus transportation from the River Campus. Buses will leave Rush Rhees Library at 10:05 a.m.

In memory of Jeff. Rest in peace, kid!

Ward-Joyles is a member of the class of 2011.

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