Saturday, July 11, 2009

You can actually avoid death!

Anybody who knows me is aware of my disdain for comments like: "Everything happens for a reason." Another one that goes along with this is: "When your time comes, there's nothing you can do about it." Well, sometimes things happen because somebody did something stupid. I suppose that if you have to find a reason for it, it's because we need to weed out the stupid from our gene pool. As for not being able to do anything about it, that's wrong; the person could have not been so stupid.

I was thinking about this when I heard a story on the news a while ago about a guy who died when he was street racing. The newscaster said that what happened was "tragic." A kid coming down with a fatal form of cancer - that's tragic. A woman losing her baby in childbirth - that's tragic. Children dying in warfare - that's tragic. Somebody engaging in risky behavior and dying as a result - sad, sure - tragic, no.

Perhaps I'm just more logical than emotional about this one, but something bothers me when people don't acknowledge that somebody's death was stupid. Don't get me wrong, if you're the mother of a kid who died as a result of pretending to be a NASCAR driver on a residential road, I'm not expecting you to say, "Man, my son was really stupid." However, you don't get to ask questions like, "How could this happen?" or say "When it's your time, it's your time." Chances are good the kid would still be alive if he was doing homework.

I also remember feeling this way when Dale Earnhardt, the NASCAR driver, died as a result of a crash during a race. People were acting like they just couldn't see something like that happening. Now, I'm not equating his death with somebody who street races, so I wouldn't call what he did stupid. However, I'm sure that the man knew the risks. I mean, you've got lots of cars going in circles at 200 miles an hour. If anything, we should be shocked at the end of every race when nobody dies! (And if Wikipedia can be trusted on this, he was the fourth to die in nine-month period.)

Yes, what happened to him is horrible. No, he did not deserve to die. If anything, it's a disservice to the dead when things like this happen and we act surprised and wonder out loud, "How could this happen?" I'm sure when Earnhardt went to the afterlife in Valhalla, he didn't scratch the top of his head, wondering just what the hell happened to him. I'm sure the first thing he said to The Valkyries was, "Damn! Must have got in one hell of a wreck, huh?"

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