Two recent high school graduates died a few days ago in a drunk driving car crash just a few miles away from where I live. They went to a neighboring high school that my cousin also goes to. The crash happened right outside my aunt’s family’s neighborhood. The driver, still in critical condition, was intoxicated and speeding. One other passenger is also in critical condition. The two who passed away were sitting in the backseats and were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. They all had just left an underage drinking party.
It’s only been four weeks since their graduation.
There are many things that I want to say, but I have no idea how to say them. I did not know these people personally, but I am deeply affected, although in no way am I insinuating that I even come close to sharing the kind of pain that the parents, friends, family, and teachers of those who died and got injured in this terrible tragedy must be experiencing right now.
But I feel the loss. I feel it. All my friends that I’ve talked to also feel it, even though we do not go to their high school. As a community, there is a gaping hole, a void, an emptiness, whatever you want to call it because I don’t have the right phrase to describe it, that has opened that I don’t think will ever close because of this loss.
You read the news and these teenagers, these teenagers who had dreams and hopes and ambitions, are now being labeled as a “cautionary tale” and while I don’t blame anybody for seeing this tragedy as such, I know that they were so much more than that and to go down in history as a “cautionary tale” is insulting to their souls, their families, and everybody who knew them.
However, I agree that there is a lesson to be learned. Actually, there are many lessons. But don’t you think these are lessons that we all already know? Don’t you think it’s been shoved in our faces more than enough already? I mean, we start hearing “don’t drink and drive” since earlier than 6th grade.
We know this already. We don’t need any more cautionary tales. These kids did not have to crash for us to learn the lessons that all these news sources are currently spewing out in their reports for us to read.
But if there is one thing that I am certain of, it is that within the next month there will be another underage drinking party in my area. And then there will be more. And more. And more.
And that knowledge depresses me. We are better than this.
We owe it to those involved in the accident and everybody else who has ever been subject to a drunk driving incident to stop behaving this way.
When I googled “teens drunk driving car crash” today, thinking that the first link that would come up would be the crash in my area, there were pages and pages of results that weren’t the story that I was looking for. The frequency of this situation has gotten out of control.
Yet it is something that is very much in each of our controls.
Let’s not make any more “cautionary tales.” We are each so very much more significant than that. Our purpose in being here on earth is not to serve as another statistic or another example that the administrators of our school can use in their speeches in the attempt to save other kids from making the same mistake.
Let’s save ourselves. Let’s stop making the mistakes ourselves.