Drunk Drivers, Hurtful Words, and Humans in General

My big sister was in an accident with a drunk driver the other night. She had a green light and was passing under a freeway when an old Ford came out of nowhere and flew in front of her. She was able to slam on the brakes in time to hit the back end of their car, but her car was totaled in the process.

She’s okay. She has some back pain right now and is currently having a hell of a time with her insurance company, but she’s okay.

But there are so many people who aren’t that lucky.

The kicker in this story is that the driver that could have potentially killed my sister was uninsured, unlicensed, unregistered, out past curfew, and fifteen years old. Fifteen years old.

Before I go on to my many other points in this blog post, can we all just sit back and ask what the actual living hell is wrong with some people? What is wrong with this kid so that he thinks it is perfectly acceptable to get into a car that does not belong to him and drive even though it is illegal for him to be driving? Not to mention doing all of the above while DRUNK.

What is wrong with this kid’s parents so that they raised him to believe that that kind of behavior is okay? Parenting is everything. Parenting doesn’t begin when a kid is fifteen and making bad decisions. Parenting begins the moment a child is born. Those parents had a responsibility to make sure their child grew up knowing the consequences of his actions and a responsibility to make sure their child knew the dangers of mixing alcohol and driving. They had a responsibility to make sure their kid didn’t find it necessary to drink and act cool. They failed. They failed miserably.

Furthermore, what is wrong with our society so that kids find it necessary to drink at all? There is such a taboo on drinking alcohol in the U.S. In other countries, teens start drinking wine at a young age and are allowed to sip alcohol at their parents’ parties and whatnot. Over here, you must be 21 to drink, no exceptions, period-end-of-story. There is such a restriction on drinking alcohol that it naturally becomes the Super Cool Awesome Thing To Do. It’s disturbing, really.

When stuff like fifteen-year-old kids getting drunk and getting into car wrecks happens, I sometimes forget to keep having hope for the human race. Whenever I hear about stupid people (because yes, kids are not the only ones who make bad decisions) on the news, or see them on the road, or hear about them through friends of friends, I just want to curl up and pull the covers over my head and not ever leave my house again. It makes me sick. It makes me so, so sad.

Another prime example that makes me want to quit humanity? The other night, me, my boyfriend, and a group of our friends went out to dinner in downtown Phoenix. None of us get out very much due to our workloads and lack of finances, so we were all excited to be able to go somewhere semi-nice and spend some time together. We were standing in front of the café, waiting on one last friend to show up, when a homeless man came over and asked if we could spare a dollar or two for him. We all shook our heads no and said, “Sorry,” because a) we are all broke college students and b) none of us had cash on us at the time.

This man’s response?

“Oh, I get it, it’s because I’m black. If I were white I’m sure you’d help a brother out. You know what, man? Fuck you.”

And he turned and walked away.

I was absolutely floored. We all stood there for a moment or two, completely speechless, unable to comprehend what had just happened. Then my I found my tongue and my temper.

“Um, actually, that is NOT true,” I yelled after him, “I just don’t carry cash on me.”

The man turned and responded with a few more explicits and my friends and boyfriend chimed in with their own rage until the man kept on walking. (He ended up pacing outside the café we were all in later, glaring at us while we ate, and even came in to use the bathroom and shoot us death glares… I was actually afraid he’d come over and start attacking us at one point.)

But I mean…seriously?

To pull that card because we’re broke and can’t give people money all the time? Racism goes both ways.

If that man had nodded, thanked us, and went on his way, I would have felt bad for him. Well, I still feel bad for him. I’m sorry for him because he is so angry and in a position in his life where he has to resort to asking college students for money. I’m sorry for him because he has probably hurt plenty of other people who have pushed him away as a result.

But that comment hit me hard. It hit me like a knife.

Humans are so fascinating to me. We love to hurt each other with our words. We’ve categorized our planet into countries and we have allowed some societies to advance to the point of the availability of near futuristic technology, and yet we allow some countries to bury thousands of their citizens every day because of hunger and thirst. We love to kill each other over interpretations of ancient books written by men and over what to call a potential deity. We do stupid things.

We do hurtful things to one another.

Some of us decide that it’s totally okay to treat others differently based on the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. Some of us decide it’s perfectly acceptable to belittle and verbally abuse other humans based on their financial status. And some of us think it’s fine to get into a car while under the influence and drive straight into an innocent woman’s vehicle and almost kill her.

I have said this several times before on this blog, and I will say it again because it’s my blog and I’ll write whatever I damn well please: I am a huge advocate for personal choice. If you (and “you” is spoken in general terms) are endangering yourself, that’s your deal. If you are hurting yourself, I’m sad for you, but I cannot stop you from making your life choices.

But if you are endangering people around you, if you are harming others with your words or weapons or potential weapons or whatever, that is not okay.

That is not okay.

I continue to have hope for the human race because I’m a sustainability major and by God, if I didn’t have hope I would go absolutely freaking insane.

But some days I just want to hang my head and silently apologize to whatever’s up there for the way humans can be sometimes. Oh, how I hope we learn from our mistakes someday…

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