I have not read what others have said about Aaron Hernandez. We can only guess as to what was going on in his head in the early morning hours on April 19, 2017. We do know however what was happening in the early morning hours 242 years before that. If you don’t remember let me have Henry Wadsworth Longfellow give you a hint:
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
Yes, it was the day the American Revolution began. The day when the local farmers we refer to a patriots, considered by the English to be traitors or rebels, took up arms to fight against the redcoats. Listen to Longfellow:
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
We’ve gone from patriots defined as: “A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors” to Patriots defined as: “A National Football League Team that in recent years has done well.” One would be hard pressed to suggest that Hernandez was a patriot; he is identified in the mind of the public though as a Patriot.
Later in the day of his demise other Patriots were scheduled to go to the White House to meet and be congratulated by the president. Had Hernandez not lost his job on that team it is highly probable he would have been among them. Was it that thought, the loss of a chance to meet with President Trump, that drove him to end his life? Perhaps, but unlikely because two years earlier the team made the same visit with Obama and Hernandez was unable to attend because of a prior commitment yet he did not kill himself.
Hernandez was born 60 years and 64 days after Whitey Bulger. At 16 in high school in Bristol, Connecticut he lost the firm hand that controlled him during his youth when his father Dennis died. He is said to have rebelled and started to hang around with the guys in the neighborhood. His skill in football had him leaving high school in 2007 at age 17 and going to the University of Florida to complete high school. He did well playing football there. He left after his junior year in which he received the award as the best tight end in college football. He was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round and played at age 20 in the 2010 season being the youngest NFL active player on a roster.
Most teams knew he was trouble and passed over him. The Patriots closed their eyes to his past which included a barroom brawl and as a suspect in the shooting of two men in Gainesville during his freshman year and later marijuana use. His couch Urban Meyer vouched for his goodness telling how he and Aaron read the Bible together.
He did well for the Patriots in the 2010 and 2011 season helping them in the latter period to the 2012 Super Bowl. The August following he received a 40 million dollar five-year contract extension. He was 22 years old. He would later be accused of murdering two men 42 days prior to the time he received the bonus.
The 2012 season passed uneventfully. Right after the season ended in February 2013 Alexander Bradley told how Hernandez shot him in the head; Bradley filed suit on June 13 against Hernandez; on June 17 Odin Llyod was found murdered near Hernandez’s home. By the end of June Hernandez was in custody charge with Llyod’s murder.
He’d be convicted of the murder of Odin Llyod on April 15, 2015, and be found dead two years and four days later. Five days before that he had been acquitted of the two murders in the summer of 2012. He killed himself five days after beating the rap and with a chance for freedom looming in his future?
Reports are that he was high on K2 a synthetic marijuana on the day before his death. The same drug he was smoking when he murdered Llyod. Also that he had written on his forehead the words “John 3:16.” Those refer to the Bible verse: “‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Bible in his cell was open to that chapter.
Why did he kill himself? Was he bothered by beating the rap? I doubt it. Did he think he’d never get out of prison? I doubt that because his recent acquittal told him one could get away with murder. He probably had a good chance on appeal to overturn the Llyod conviction..
I have to think those are tough times coming down from a high in the early morning hours when one is all alone and unable to sleep. The best reason not to commit a crime is so that when you put your head on the pillow you get a good night sleep. You don’t have to worry about the cops coming for you. Ask Whitey about that.
Aaron sat alone in his cell. The day high was gone. Sleep would not come. He thought should I:
[T]ake Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause.
Aaron picked up the Bible. There in front of him was the answer to his question. He believed so he was promised eternal life. There was no need to pause.