29 August 2007

People Confuse Me

This past June, four girls were killed on a local freeway the night of a high school graduation. Recently, results of the 20-year-old driver’s toxicology were released: a blood alcohol content greater than 0.0 and a positive test for marijuana. Also, found in the car was a half-full gallon of vodka. Only one of the five girls in the car survived this accident.

Also recently released: Families of those killed during the Virginia Tech shootings are to receive $180,000. If were you were injured when Cho was raging on campus, you will receive at least $40,000. And if you were simply in one of the rooms where Cho visited, you can take your choice between $10,000 and free tuition for the rest of your VT career.

Let me be the first to say that both of these events are, of course, terrible tragedies. The families of all those who died are suffering, and will continue to suffer, much. Any time a death occurs there will be sadness. I do not mean to diminish the pain that these people are feeling.

However, let me give a few more pieces of information. The parents (I think, maybe grandparents) of one of the passengers killed in the car accident are suing the parents of the driver. Wrongful death, they say. To the suing grandparents I say: “I’m so sorry that your granddaughter died. But don’t you think it’s likely that your daughter was also drinking? Don’t you think that getting into a car where the driver was impaired is also irresponsible? Do you honestly believe that if your daughter had been the one driving that night, absolutely nothing would have happened to any of them? Can you not just say that this was a horrible accident and move on with your grieving process? What in the world could money do to help you heal from this?” I have to believe that if one girl was drinking and smoking marijuana, then all were (remember the half-full gallon of vodka in the car). They all acted foolishly and made incorrect decisions. But where is the responsibility for each of the girls? Why is the burden not shared by all girls in that car?

And regarding the VT tragedy. Some of the kin of those killed are asking for more than the offered $180,000. I don’t understand this one bit. People die everyday. EVERYDAY. And almost all of those who die leave family members who get nothing. And yet they have the same sadness, loneliness, faith doubts, and everything that comes along with death as those who are grieving for victims of Cho. But they get nothing. They ask for nothing.

I guess I just don’t understand people and money.


Megan said...

I totally agree with you Erin. We live in such a money hungry society that I think people feel that it will help replace the loss of their loved one. The only case in which I could see seeking money in either case (and I honestly don't think this would apply to the girl's cases at all) is if a family was dependant on the person who died for their family income - like one of the professors. Yet, I have a feeling some insurance would kick in there for having been killed on the job.
In regards to the girls, I totally agree that they were all responsible. I hope they did tox reports on all of them. If I was being sued in a similar situation I would want those results to counter and defend myself. Also, is that family truly responsible for the actions of their daughter who was driving?

Melissa said...

Amen. I would hope that my family would never use my death (whatever the circumstances) to perpetuate further suffering.

Niederfam said...

I completely agree.............It is heartbreaking on so many levels.