Below is a post that I originally drafted as an email in 2007 after learning of the tragic 5 person murder / suicide of people I knew. This horrific event was done by the hands of a 17 year old family member.
Why am I sharing this with you now? Because I am tired of seeing headline after headline of senseless acts of violence and mass murders… especially those committed by troubled youth. These situations are far too common in today’s society and we need to find solutions to help prevent these tragedies from happening. I’m not just talking about gun laws, etc. so don’t blow up the comments section with things like that. What I am talking about is finding ways to help those who might be suffering from mental illness and stopping the rage before it manifests into devastating actions. Part of the reason I wrote Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain is that I would see violence all around me as a youth. We (youth) glorified gangs, not video games, at that time. Through my foundation, I have donated to causes that provide solutions for young men and women who are a mentor away from destroying a life or the lives of others. I may not have all the answers but I know one thing for sure, I will not sit idly by and do nothing… and I hope you won’t either.
Plan to hear more from me on this subject and, like always, plan to see me and my foundation put our money where our mouth is. As you’ll see in my post, I think it’s also critically important that when these tragedies do occur that we also rise up and help the innocent victims in need.
I first learned of the family’s tragic murder after a Los Angeles Times news reference to their profiles on pathconnect.com hit my Blackberry.
The following was written in the story:
On pathconnect.com, Nikita Williams listed her passion as motocross. Other interests included dance, music, the beach and the mall. She predicted that by the time she was 18 she would “have accomplished school and will have my own business.” She also described a very close network of friends.
“My mom and my friends are my hero,” she wrote. “They are always by my side helping me through tough times and giving me [advice] on guys and life.”
Her sister Narissa listed Nikita, her mom and her friends as her heroes. “My life is pretty normal. I live in the wine country. I love my friends to death. School is fun to an extent,” she wrote in her Web profile. “I dislike teenage drama, it gets bad at our school. But anyways, my mom is soon to be a regional director.”
In loving memory, their profiles are receiving many visitors. I was both shocked and saddened that something so senseless could happen to such a young family. I was even more stunned to realize that I actually knew this family. While looking through their profile pages, I was at a loss for words when I saw Naomi’s default photo was a picture of the two of us taken at a PathConnect A-list party. While looking at Nikita’s profile I saw photos of myself on her page. Everything hit me the moment I saw the photos and read the words they wrote about the life they wanted.
Everything I talk about, all the speeches on purpose, on taking a stance, on youth mentorship, on raising children in a single parent family, on the challenges the youth face today in our society, was right in front of me.
When I first met Naomi, Nikita and Narissa, it was after I had given a speech. In the speech, I spoke to the group about my purpose and the power of knowing your purpose in life. After the speech Naomi came up to me and told me her story of obstacles overcome, of the challenges she had faced in life, as a single mother. With a smile from ear-to ear she said, “I would like to introduce you to my purpose.” She then introduced me to two beautiful young twin girls, Nikita and Narissa. You could tell she was proud of them.
Her daughters glowed as they smiled and shook my hand. They then asked me to take a picture with them. Their mother asked if I could spend some time with them in hopes I could give them advice. I remember the words I shared with them so well. I remember the look in their eyes as they listened to what I had to say, about life, the things I would do differently, the challenges that I felt they faced as youth in today’s world. I remember this family so differently than many others. Naomi’s purpose was close to home for me, as it was my single mother who struggled to raise me, who saved me by making me her cause. I respected Naomi as a single mother, clear on her purpose, passionate about her children and a fun, loving mother. I remember thinking to myself, “Naomi, your purpose is my purpose. I do what I do, because of people just like you, Narissa and Nikita.”
Yesterday, one week after their murder, I was speaking at an event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before an audience of people about giving back. I decided to focus my speech on the Williams’ family murder, hoping to bring awareness to this unfathomable act. I thought it was important that my audience knew the people behind this story and that their tragic death is remembered for something more than just another five person murder suicide.
After explaining their story, I decided that I would pledge $2500 to the family and that my company Visuals Sciences would match every dollar raised in the room. So far, we are up to $10,000. I want to thank all the PathConnect members who have helped me champion this cause and who have donated to the families of our fellow community members.
These situations are far too common in today’s society. We need to stop talking about these tragedies as body counts in news stories and start taking action and talking about solutions. In the case of Naomi, Nikita and Narissa’s story: What drives a 17-year old boy to murder his entire family? Where does the rage come from? Why the anger? What is going on in our culture that could drive a teenage boy to murder? It’s clear we need to find a way to connect and understand this rage. We need to teach the youth about values, communicate with them, give them hope and restore the value of a human life in our society. We need to restore the value of family, educate on the purpose of goals and reach out to those in need and give back.
This senseless tragedy has touched many of us. It’s so clear that it could have been prevented. This world needs change. It needs you to become an agent of change. Take action, make your voice heard and give back.Comments (16)