Letter: On drinking and driving

Publication YearIssue Date 

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Another car "accident" linked to teenage drunk driving has stolen lives from this city and this young generation. One more life lost, but many more affected by this traumatic and most impossible to understand of events. In this lack of understanding, the question raised is but one word. Why? Why did someone have to get behind the wheel intoxicated? Why did someone, anyone, not take the responsibility to avoid the consequences?

It is almost impossible for someone who lives in this younger generation to understand how a teenager can be so naïve about drinking and driving. The presentations have been endless, from MADD Days to campus awareness clubs, students of my generation have been exposed to the stories. We know the words, the calls to be "responsible" and "smart." Nevertheless, just last week another death by drinking and driving at the hands of a teenager occurred close to my home. And again, we wonder, why? Let's stop wondering and let's start speaking the hard truth. If you drink and you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, your finger is now on the trigger. Many shots are fired wildly into the night; the sounds of mufflers are all that's heard. But eventually, a crowd is found and the bullets rip through flesh and bone and another innocent victim falls to the ground. Drinking and driving is murder. It is not just irresponsible; it is pure evil, a decision to grab a weapon and kill innocent people because you needed "a night on the town." My generation asks for more freedom, more responsibilities and power over our lives and we ask not to be treated like "children." However, we fail to earn any of these wants.

We are children and blatantly stupid if we continue to be foolish enough to drive drunk. The options are endless, from taxi cabs to designated drivers. That is real responsibility and freedom. Being smart enough to ask someone in advance for a ride; to develop a plan like an adult. That's intelligence, but instead all those presentations that we chatted and slept through ring no bells of alarm. Maybe my words cannot either. But maybe the screams of the mother last week in the emergency room. "WHY?" The tears running down her face, the pain in her heart and the knowledge that everything she wished for her child has now ended. It is not just his life that is finished, her's is as well.

Can we finally stand up and take some responsibility, ask ourselves a simple question. Why not? Why not ask for someone to pick us up from the party? Why not have a designated driver? Why not call a cab? Why not plan ahead? The label on our generation is earned until we are willing to prove otherwise.

Some have said our abuse warrants the consequences it has placed upon our society. But I refuse to believe that change is not possible. Because if we do, we are accepting murder on our streets. We are accepting needless death as a part of our society, but I just can't help but ask, why? Why in a society as smart as ours can we be so brainless and moreover, so heartless.

Please, as the holiday season approaches, where we will celebrate in the festivities, ask why not? Maybe, just maybe we can have Peace on Earth and good will towards all men, if we finally earn it. Drive safe and responsibly this holiday season.

God bless you and yours,