May 6th, 2009
12:08 PM ET

Man up and be a real dad

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/06/martin.fathers/art.new.roland.cnn.jpg]

Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

"I'll kill all y'all."

Imagine looking at the man whose DNA you carry standing in your home, telling you those chilling words, as he wields a shotgun.

The frightening image is a scary thought. But according to former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry, it was an actual scene, one that begins his book, "Straw: Finding My Way."

I vividly remember the towering home runs hit by the former star, who played for four big league teams, including the New York Mets and Yankees - and of course, the many times he was in the news for failing drug tests, beating wives, getting cancer twice, going to prison. He was a man fighting enormous demons.

Yet as I read the book, there is one consistent theme that runs throughout and that sheds a spotlight on a figure that continues to plague neighborhoods all across the country: the missing-in-action father.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Larry

    Roland, if I may ask, if you know the country where your african ancestors came from; eg: Kenya for Barack Obama, then would you still call yourself african-american or eg: Kenyan-American?

    May 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  2. Scott Hartmann

    I feel ya Darryl. That scene is something you just don't forget. I was 13 when it happened to my mother, brother, and sister, and I. Good thing we got out when we did because he unloaded in the house just after we did.

    May 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  3. concern/denver Colorado

    and Letsgive a hand to those whom have taken on th ewhole responablity of begin mom and dad ..there are quit a few of them

    May 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  4. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    Anyone, male or female who will vouch for our youth is fine with me. Let us not discriminate.

    May 6, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  5. Lynda K

    Sadly, this just happened for real in Lakeland, Florida where a father killed his wife and two children and then himself on the front lawn. The only one to escape was a 16 year old boy when his father tripped over a bike as he fled through the garage. What can it be about people that makes them get so desperate or so angry that they feel killing is their only option?

    May 6, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  6. Glo

    Well done Roland! Until both patents accept equal responsibility generations of young men will continue to be sacrificed to the streets.

    May 6, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  7. Joanne Pacicca

    Every weekend, I see the parade of broken children at my home, friends of the teen that live with me, parents don't care where they are...as long as they are not gone and they can do what they want with their adult lives.

    This is not confined to race, economics or any other consideration and therefore, I deeply resent your statement:
    " I've called on pastors nationwide to stop the stream of momma, grandmother, aunts and female cousins coming to the altar for baby dedications with no man in sight. That pastor should say, "Until I personally meet with the father, I will not dedicate this child." Somebody has to hold that man accountable for his actions.

    It's time that men hold their "boys" accountable. "

    Anyone, and I mean anyone that can give a child a break in this broken scenerio that repeats itself in every neighborhood across the nation, can step forward and take care....

    I know of children who not ONE person will vouch for them for a variety of reasons, mostly centered on both broken homes and a self-centered lack of love and parenting skills.

    I am sick and tired of these 20s ,30s and 40s who contend they love their children while their actions demonstrate the neglect...and abuse of those sad and lost teens.

    May 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm |