15 June 2007

The Defense Department Regrets to Inform You That Your Sons are Dead because They were Stupid

Yesterday morning, at four or so, this happened. Everyone in Baytown is up at arms about it, as well they should be. Four kids are dead, and it stinks. There is no way around that. However, there is a certain amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth that needs to subside at this time. Why? Well, if you're too lazy to read the linked article, here follows a summary:

The driver was fifteen and unlicensed. The rest of the kids were fifteen, three fourteen year olds, and a twelve year old. They were in a stolen Jeep Cherokee, and driving really, really fast in a thirty mile an hour zone (the top was sheared off the Jeep by the railroad car), and it was four in the morning.

The parents are blaming a) Union Pacific, b) TxDoT c) liberals (I'm sure it will happen), and d) the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Let's examine this for a moment. The driver, fifteen and unlicensed, apparently stole a car. The newsies are calling it "purloined" and the whole thing a "foolish lark." STOLEN CAR. FELONY. Not a "foolish lark." I have driven over those tracks at that spot a hundred times. The speed limit there is thirty, and not that I'm a great believer in speed limits, but it does behoove one to NOT go sixty miles an hour there, because aside from the tracks, there is a very sharp turn immediately thereafter. This guy should/would have known that, but that didn't stop him, and it makes me extremely angry that his mother tried to play it off by saying he was "just trying to get that little girl home."

Bullshit. She oughtn't have been out in the first place, and there's no point in going eighty there on East Archer over those tracks because a) it's four in the morning and you are already in trouble, and b) you're going to die even if you don't hit a train because you'll miss the turn.

The other attempt is to blame the parents; this is mostly coming from the commenters on the Chronicle website. This too is bullshit. Every one of those kids made the choice to sneak out, go out, and get into a stolen vehicle with an unlicensed driver at high speeds. Both articles mention siblings and friends who said, "Ya know, that doesn't really sound like a good idea." Look who's alive.

The thing that really irritates me is that knowing Baytown as I do, had this been a car full of Mexican kids, there would not be any "poor kids!" going around. They would be being maligned as juvenile delinquents and hideous things would be being said about Mexicans on general principles, but since they are rich white kids it's a hideous tragedy.

I really, really don't get why personal responsibility is only meant to apply to specific people. Stupid crap like this goes down all the time, and the rich white kids never have to take responsibility for it. Sigh. I hope their parents make it through this mess.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you ... I had read those same articles and said the same things to Dwayne over lunch, before either of us read your post.

I'm convinced the media coverage would have been different if the kids were Hispanic or Black.

I think it's a tragic accident ... let's stop trying to lay blame, we all know the kids made a horrible mistake.

2:10 PM  

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