Wednesday, September 19, 2012

20 years ago

What does 20 years feel like? My 35 year old son was 15 on the day who lost 5 classmates to a deadly crash just down the road to his high school and our home. We were among the mourners who were searching for answers how 5 young men and women his age could lose their lives in an instant taking joyriding to the extreme. Driving is all about confidence as well. That point was made abundantly clear on that September day in 1992. Scott was learning to drive our 1981 Z 28 at the time, which I had saved especially for him. Few cars on the road at the time shared its raw power. Kids love power. We all remember our first unsupervised times in a car where the thrill of independence is intoxicating, the music is blaring and it seems like life could never get better. But there is more to confidence than unbridled enthusiasm. There is also responsibility. What my son and many others learned that dark day was that we are all held accountable for our actions. No teenager gets into a car with the intention of hurting anyone. Some, such as those who fall victim to drinking, learn the hard way. And there are a few who learned a life changing driving lesson 20 years ago today that is filed in their mind forever. An automobile can be the coolest thing on earth and bring hours of joy. It can also be a weapon of steel, plastic and glass and kill as efficiently as the most effective weapon. What happens when one takes the wheel is often dependent on the thinking of that driver. And sometimes bad things happen. No one can imagine anything worse. But to the survivors and the witnesses it was a life lesson. And nothing would ever resonate with them more deeply than what they had just seen. Twenty years later, it is still with all of us.

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