Friday, May 04, 2007

It makes me SADD, and now really MADD

What is a hero?

A hero is a firefighter who charges up smoky steps in a burning high rise office tower on 9/11.
A hero is a soldier who defends her country.
A hero is a police officer who goes the extra mile and notices that the beat-up white Nisson truck looks like the one described in a child-abduction case, and a hero is the boy who noticed every detail of that truck and gave a statement to police.

Hell, a hero is even a type of sandwich.

A hero is most definitely not a baseball player who gets drunk (and possibly stoned), speeds and kills himself when he smashes into the back of a tow truck that has flashing red and yellow lights.

I realize that the death of a loved one/dear friend/teammate is hard to bear. I understand that those he left behind are in pain and will grieve for a long time, if not forever.

What I do not want to do is sugarcoat what he did.

Was he a great guy? I'm sure he was. Fun, a prankster, caring, loving. All that stuff and more.

Was he also a drunk driver who imperiled everyone on the road that night, and given the evidence, on probably many other nights? You bet your bippy.

I was a staunch member of Students Against Drunk Driving in high school, and the feelings I had then about drunk drivers hasn't diminished, but instead has only increased as I've grown older and become more and more aware of the fragility of life.

The stupidity of the act astounds me. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has alternatives to drinking and driving. The easiest one being, OMG it's such a novel concept, don't drink at all when you know you have to drive. Really, are a few beers worth your life? Is alcohol that important to you, that you'd risk your life (and other's) for it? If so, then you've got even bigger issues.

I'm one of those people who has no tolerance for drunk drivers. I still haven't quite forgiven Tony LaRussa for doing it, and I sure as hell won't stand and cheer for Leonard Little, no matter how many sacks he has in a game. What message are we sending to our children? "Drinking and driving is bad. Don't do it. Unless, of course, you're a big sports star. Then it's okay. Just be careful. But even if you kill someone, no biggie, you can still have your big fancy sports career and make tons of money and stuff. You'll just wind up in the papers a lot more."

Little was found driving under the influence a few years after he killed a woman in downtown St. Louis. Anything happen? Nope. Not a damn thing. I'm outraged for the woman's family, because they not only had to lose her, they have to see him placed on the almighty pedestal of sports and revered by Rams fans here in their own town. And allowed to do exactly what he did when he killed her. I think I'd have to move away.

So, yeah, the death of Josh Hancock is a horrible tragedy, and my heart goes out to his family, friends and teammates. I thank God that he didn't kill anyone else when he killed himself. But I damn sure will not place him on a pedestal and consider him a hero or an idol. His service yesterday was a media circus and it should not have been. If one of my family members had done that, I'd be carrying a heavy load of embarrassment along with my grief. What does it say about our society when we revere people who drink, drive and kill themselves?


Blogger a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

You forgot -- talking on the cell phone while driving. That alone could have gotten him just as dead. Yes, it is true and as an EMT I've seen it with my own two eyes... talking on the phone while driving *can* be just as dangerous as drunk (or overly tired) driving... add talking on the cell phone with being wasted and that's just a decapitation waiting to happen. It's sad and you're right, he's no hero... but maybe in a way he can be if his death can prevent others.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN, SISTER! And why do we not hold accountable the people who knew he was incapacitated and yet let him leave anyway. I think they need to think long and hard about their decision that night,too.

2:06 PM  

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