To anyone who was offended by this post from last month, File under "Another Stupid Dead Kid"
, this will be my final commentary on the matter.
Did what I write make you angry? I would hope so.
Did what I write disgust you? I can imagine it would.
Would it make you feel better if the title had been, File Under "Another Life Tragically Ended Too Soon as a Direct Result of Irresponsible, Reckless, and Illegal Behavior"
To the friends and family of Ted Cochran, I apologize if what I wrote hurt you [edit: I'm sorry you were hurt by those words, not sorry for writing them]
, but I do not apologize for the way I feel whenever I read a story like the one in the Herald that day last month. That feeling is one of anger, frustration, and disbelief.
Kids are dying senselessly on our roads every damn weekend. And no one seems to be doing ANYTHING to bring this devastating trend to an end. The stories get printed in the papers, the roadside memorials go up, the funerals are held, and families mourn.
Then the same sad cycle resumes the weekend after that, either from some kid drinking and driving, or just plain showing off to his friends how cool they are by driving fast (while lacking more than a few weeks experience behind the wheel). Sorry, but in my book, this doesn't qualify as intelligent behavior.
One person left me a comment stating, "Ted was not drunk, he was simply testing the limits, which was his mistake , but once again what kid doesnt test the limits. Even you I can GARUNTEE have tested the limits."
Yeah, I've tested the limits. When I was eight or so, I snuck an extra ice cream sandwich after dinner time - just to see if I could get away with it. More recently, I stayed up late to watch a west coast baseball game, knowing that I would be really tired the next morning, and that my work performance the next day might suffer as a result - just to see if I could. So yeah, I've tested the limits, but recklessly violating multiple state laws and endangering the lives of those I care about? No. Not once. Not ever. I guess that makes me abnormal.
To say Ted was "simply testing the limits" is to dismiss this as normal and acceptable teenage behavior. I would never write off the loss of a friend as simply part of the cost of being a teenager today. That would be a great disservice to all involved.
Kids see the public service announcement posters up in their schools every damn day, but somehow still manage to bestow on themselves an air of immortality. Bad things only happen to other kids, right? Unfortunately, all too often the price paid for learning of one's mortality is tragedy. By the time the lesson is learned it is simply too late.
Until kids and parents today assume some real responsibility for themselves and for the ones they love, incidents like this will continue to clutter up the pages of hometown newspapers across the country on a regular basis. Sad? Yes. Tragic? Yes, especially when looking at just how God damned preventable these deaths are. As it's been said, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Many people have told me what a great kid Ted was, and I don't doubt that for a second. Clearly he touched the lives of all who knew him in a positive way. Those memories should of course be cherished. But at the same time, it needs to be acknowledged that this tragedy was 100% preventable, and that unless more kids wake up to this reality, this scene is very likely to replay itself all too soon.
So, if you still feel it necessary to call me names, threaten my family, or pray for my violent premature death (the raped in hell with a fork comment was particularly creative), knock yourself out. Just don't pretend to be shocked when the next teenager wraps his car around an oak tree, because it will happen, get ready.
Perhaps if Michael E. Lindberg Jr.
had read my "hateful" words, he might still be alive today.
That is all.