A few minutes ago I was returning home from dropping off my daughter and two of her friends at the home of another friend. They were planning a night of fun watching videos and whatever else four teenage girls do to stay up to the wee hours of the morning. Maybe they will go to separate rooms and text one another.
Their night of fun is to be followed by a day of fun. They are going shopping at one of the largest malls on the east coast. Personally, I would just as soon take a trip to the dentist as visit a busy mega-mall on a Saturday this close to Christmas. But, my daughter assures me that the madness is part of the fun. Does anyone understand this?
Well, back to the point. I was driving along one of the many dark, tree-lined, winding roads near our home. As I motored along, I remembered a tragedy that occurred on this section of road a few years ago. Every time I pass this way I remember this event.
You see, a husband and wife rounded one of the curves traveling about 50 miles per hour. They were in a full sized Chevrolet pickup. A large buck attempted to cross the road in front of them. As they approached, he leapt into the air in a futile effort to escape the inevitable. He didn’t make it. He did jump high enough that the hood of the vehicle clipped his legs. This caused his body to be hurled towards the passenger side of the windshield. The impact was of sufficient force that the deer came to rest inside the cab of the pickup. Tragically, two of the buck’s antler points penetrated the female passenger’s chest. She died within minutes of the collision.
Remembering this tragedy set me to thinking about the recent death of James Kim in Oregon. So many things converged to produce this tragedy. Having lived for several years in the foothills of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, I know first-hand how easily and quickly one can get into serious trouble in this sort of environment.
Earlier today I read something that really tore at my heart. Most major news outlets are reporting that the Kim’s journey towards tragedy was partially attributable to the fact that vandals had cut the lock and opened the gate on a Bureau of Land Management road that was closed on November 1st. Why would someone do such a thing? Who knows? But, the fact that it was done plays a major role in this tragedy.
This prompted me to wonder how often it is that the flagrant disrespect of civil and moral guidelines on the part of one individual indirectly produces tragic results in the lives of others. As I was thinking about this, my journey towards home took me down a much-less-highly traveled road, a tree-lined lane about one half mile in length that consists of one hill after of another. This is one of the most heavily deer populated areas around.
I’m traveling near the speed limit of 40 miles per hour, when a car with cold-blue and blindingly bright headlights races up behind me. I see the front end dip when the driver applies the brakes. But he doesn’t want to slow down. He makes this known by slowing a bit and then racing up behind me several times. I reach up and adjust my rear view mirror, determined to hold my ground.
Then it occurs to me that because the person behind me is bent on pushing the envelop—ignoring the laws of the land and apparently oblivious to or unconcerned about the dangers his actions are causing—I’ve gone almost the full length of this dangerous stretch of road without paying a bit of attention to what is in front of me.
After persistently trying to get me to speed up to no avail, the driver turned into his development about a block before my next turn. My thoughts then returned to two fatherless children and a recently widowed young mother in Oregon. May God be with them. May God be with all of us that we will spend a bit more time thinking before acting. May God help all of us to live more respectfully of one another and the governing principles that protect us from harm and from harming one another.
© Bill Williams
December 9, 2006