Tag Archives: Tragedy

Further Evidence That Texting While Driving Is More Than Dangerous; It’s Deadly

by Richard

The verdict came in a couple of days ago, so you dudes probably have heard about this, but I thought it was important enough to continue the discussion here.

A Massachusetts teen was convicted Wednesday of homicide as a result of texting while driving and will serve one year in prison.

In a landmark case for the state, Aaron Deveau, 18, was found guilty on charges of vehicular homicide, texting while driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle in a 2011 crash that fatally injured Donald Bowley, 55, of Danville, New Hampshire, and seriously injured a passenger in Bowley’s car.

“I made a mistake,” Deveau said Wednesday after his mother told the district court in Haverhill, Massachusetts he would not intentionally hurt anyone. “If I could take it back, I would take it back.”

Unfortunately, like most of life, there are no take backs. Deveau is going to have to live with the fact that he killed one man and severely injured another, just because he couldn’t wait a few minutes to send fewer than 140 characters of information to a friend. That won’t be easy. But at least he’s still around to feel the guilt.

Deveau received a sentence of two and a half years for the death of Bowley, and two years for texting and causing injury. He will serve one year of that sentence concurrently, while the balance of both charges will be suspended for five years. What that means is he’ll spend a year in jail and then be released. If he stays clean for five years, the rest of the jail time goes away. His driver license will be suspended for 15 years.

“There are no winners today,” Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement. “A beloved grandfather is dead. A once active woman can no longer work and is still racked with pain from her injuries and a young man is going to jail. When we get behind the wheel of a car, we are obligated to drive with care. … As we saw in this case, in a split second, many lives are forever changed.”

We all know that the teen dudes in our families driving around know it’s dangerous to text and drive. Just like they know it’s dangerous to drink and drive. Yet, many teens still do this. Heck, many adults do both things as well.

If nothing else, maybe this horrible tragedy can serve as an object lesson, a teachable moment, for our teen dudes, to show them what can happen when they’re too impatient to wait and read that text when they’re off the road. I know I’m going to be having some serious talks with Hyper Lad, Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy.

They’re going to groan and moan about having to talk about this again, but better to repeat myself than ask why while standing over a coffin.


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Dude Review: Snuff

by Richard

Normally, when I do a Dude Review, you dudes can count on my having given the article/book/movie/service/whatever a thorough going over so I know it, both inside and out. Well, relatively sure anyway.

This time, though. . . Well, this time not only haven’t I read the book, you can be pretty sure no one has read the book for the most part. It’s only being released for the first time today. And, yet, here I am reviewing it and, more than that, giving it five (out of 5) dudes for excellence.

The book in question is Snuff, written by Sir Terry Pratchett. For more than 30 years, Pratchett has been writing some of the most thoughtful, amazingly consistent and most funny satire in the English language. And it’s all set on a fantasy “earth” called the Discworld, because this place really is a disk, setting on the backs of four enormous elephants, which, in turn, rest on a great space turtle that slowly perambulates through space.

As I said, it’s fantasy, but it’s also fantastic satire. Past books have lanced the foibles of academia, soccer, war, you name it.

Each book is full of literal belly laughs and that’s a very, very rare thing. Seriously, think back and tell me how many times you’ve been reading a book and actually laughed aloud, rather than smiled and said, “That’s funny.” Not many, yeah? Pratchett, though, has laugh-out-loud moments sprinkled throughout every single book.

The ardent Pratchet-ophile can divide his Discworld books into themes: there’s the witches of Lancre, the city watch, the Unseen University, and the catch-all category that lampoons things like civic employment and newspapers. Seriously, these things are amazing.

Snuff stars Sam Vimes, the commander of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpock (the early industrial era London of the Discworld) so it slots neatly into the city watch section of Pratchett’s work. And that’s good because some of my favorite Pratchett books have covered the various officers and offenders that populate that city.

So, yeah. You should go out and get this book. Like, right now. Don’t worry that it’s the latest book in a series that spans 30 years because Pratchett does an amazing job of setting each book on its own. Pick up any book and you’ll never notice it wasn’t the first book ever written in the Discworld series.

The best thing about all these books is that, after the laughs, and after the tears (because, like the best comedy, it’s rooted in tragedy), you can read about everyone in the book getting what they deserved and close the covers with a warm smile. Every time. A smile in every book.

Go get it. This is the real stuff. The good stuff. It’s stuff dudes and non-dudes will love. Snuff.

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Passing

by Richard

When I was growing up in Dallas, I taught her how to swim in our backyard pool. Our families had been friends forever. I went away to college and she grew up, got married and had kids.

This week she buried her youngest son.

The one-car accident occurred when she hit the breaks to avoid a suddenly stopped car ahead of her. Her SUV swerved off the road and crashed. She, her oldest son and her daughter were slightly injured. Her 6-year-old son, who was wearing a lap belt, died on the helicopter that was airlifting him to the hospital.

Her parents were waiting there, at the hospital. Waiting to take custody of their grandchild. Waiting to become the first family members forced to deal with the lifeless body of this once-vibrant, once-laughing young dude.

I never met him, but I kept up with him through Christmas cards, letters, and family gossip. I am the worse for that. We are all the worse for that.

When something like this happens, we all sigh sadly, shake our heads and wonder how the family deals with a tragedy of this magnitude. Let me tell you, no matter what kind of face the family puts on, they deal with it badly. Very, very badly. He was a part of their life. A walking, breathing wonderful and hugging part of their life and he leaves a boy-shaped hole in their hearts that grows bigger with every passing second that goes by without him to fill it.

There really are no words to express the sort of tragedy implicit in this. A child passing before his parents, before his grandparents. Far, far too soon.

I can’t really understand what she’s going through right now. What they all are going through. And, as selfish as it sounds, I hope I never do get that sort of understanding.

What I do know is they are in terrible pain, filled with anger and sadness and inconsolable grief and I wish there was something I could do to ease that pain.

My young dudes never knew him either and keep wondering why I’m hugging them so much these last few days. It’s only natural, I suppose. I want them to know they are loved and treasured and I want to reassure myself that they really are here. And are healthy.

I can only hold her in my thoughts and let her know she is not alone, that there are people who love her and will be there for her and will do anything they can to help.

I might have taught her how to swim, but there are some waters that must be crossed on your own, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

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