Home July 2013 Not Invincible

Not Invincible

I posted the message below on our 17-year-old’s Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, after our community was shocked by a tragic traffic accident killing five Irvine teenagers.  They were on their way to the beach, heading down Jamboree in Newport Beach, when their car, which was going nearly 100 miles per hour, went out of control, hit a tree, split into two and burst into flames.  As we all have grieved for the families of these kids, all of us, especially parents of teenagers, have been hugely affected by this horrific event.
As a parent of three teenagers who is involved in their lives and has a lot of contact with their friends and classmates, I can also attest to the fact that it has had a huge impact on the teens themselves and their behavior.  While we would certainly never, ever wish for something like this to happen, if we can all, as a community, learn from this and use it as a way to really get through to our kids about this issue, then the memory of these five teens will be even more “for a blessing,” as we say in Judaism.
Let’s pretend for a moment that this column is a Facebook post and I can use it to “tag” each and every teenager in our community!  This is what I posted:
Dear Harrison Boarnet and all of your friends – I am tagging you on purpose because I WANT your friends to see this.  I cannot stop thinking about Monday’s accident and am reminding each and every one of you to please take this as a lesson that you are NOT invincible and that bad things can and do happen.  You are all amazing, successful and good kids.  All of us parents want to be visiting you in college on parents day, not visiting you in the cemetery.  PLEASE remember this accident as you get behind the wheels of your cars and as you give each other rides.
Driving is a huge responsibility, and a vehicle can be a lethal weapon.  It is not something to be taken lightly.  Please don’t speed, don’t get distracted or distract each other, absolutely don’t text or use your phones while driving and don’t ever get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve had a drink.  All of us parents would rather get a phone call from you that you had a drink and you need to be picked up than get a visit from the police that you’ve been killed in a car accident.  And please be responsible passengers, not just drivers.  Don’t let your friends drive if they’ve been drinking, don’t let them text and don’t let them speed.  If you see them doing these things, tell them to stop.  And if you’re a passenger, don’t be a distraction to the driver.  All it takes is a split second of looking away, and an accident can happen.  We love you and don’t want anything to happen to any of you!!
Sometimes we all feel a bit invincible.  I’m not saying that we all go speeding down Jamboree at 100 miles per hour, because, hopefully, none of us are doing that, but I’m sure most of us believe that “it won’t happen to us.”  But the reality is that bad things do happen, and they do happen to good people and also to innocent people.  It is entirely conceivable that the car could have hit another car instead of a tree and could have killed five other people who weren’t doing anything besides driving down the street.  That happens all too often.  We were all devastated a few years ago when Jessica Herron, a college student from our Jewish community was killed when she was home from college on a break and her family’s car was struck by another vehicle speeding through an intersection.  Let’s all be vigilant out there on the roads – not just our own driving behaviors, but our defensive driving, so hopefully we can prevent more tragedies from occurring.

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