The story of Bobby Tillman, the Atlanta area teen who was beaten to death at random as he walked down a street outside a party, has shaken the nation.
Four teens who were attending the party have been arrested and charged with murder after the 18-year old was beaten and stomped to death on the sidewalk, apparently for nothing other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The alleged attackers were involved in an altercation in which one of them was reportedly struck by a female party-goer. In response, it is alleged, one of the teen assailants said that he wouldn’t strike back at a woman but would instead beat the next male person who came along.
Bobby Tillman, a slightly built teenager just 5-6 and 124 pounds, was the unfortunate person who was next to pass by. Police say that four teens, ranging in age from 18 to 19, were arrested and charged with beating and stomping Tillman to death.
The tragedy turns a spotlight on the problem of teen parties growing out of control. In the Tillman case, the parents of the girls throwing the party expected only ten people. But by the time of incident that resulted in Bobby Tillman’s beating death, there were as many as 80 people crowded in and around the house.
The local sheriff praised efforts by the parents in this case for attempting to control the unexpected crowd, and said that there were no drugs or alcohol involved.
That doesn’t change the fact that Bobby Tillman was beaten to death for no reason. This senseless act of violence will surely be discussed, but answers may not be forthcoming. What is it that drives teens – especially young men – to random, meaningless violence, even to the point of death? How do we protect someone like Bobby Tillman, whose life was ended for senseless reasons – his life beaten out of him without provocation?
Already, some controversy has arisen about the manner in which sheriff’s department officials handled the investigation, transporting witnesses to Bobby Tillman’s murder by bus to sort out statements and eye-witness accounts. But the actions of law enforcement officials in trying to diffuse a volatile, violent and tragic situation and question dozens of witnesses so as to put the wheels of justice into motion cannot be allowed to overshadow that larger story.
Bobby Tillman was beaten to death. This teenager with an entire life to look forward to had his future stomped out of him. Why did it happen? How can we prevent it from happening again? Is there a way we, as a society, can possibly see that some good comes from the horrific fate that befell Bobby Tillman? Can’t there be some redemption of even the smallest kind that comes from the death of an innocent teen who did nothing more than walk down the wrong street at the wrong time?