This week in Canton Township, Michigan 5 lives were lost due to bad judgment. The 5 young people ranged in age from 14 to 21. All were killed when the car they were riding in was struck by an oncoming Amtrak train. The cause - the 19 year old driver with a suspended license as well as a number of other violations on his driving record chose to bypass the cars stopped at the railroad crossing, and drove around the flashing lights on the lowered gate barrier and was instantly hit broadside by the train. No one knows why he would do this and now no one will ever find out.
A video from a nearby business has been shown on television and I have to admit it turns my stomach every time I see it. You see the black car coming up the road, it swerves to the left of the stopped cars to bypass them in line at the gate crossing and as it goes over the tracks is instantly hit by the oncoming train. The car never once slowed as it approached the crossing. The car was pushed roughly a mile from one railroad crossing down to the next before the train was able to come to a stop.
All I kept thinking of seeing this was how do we tell our kids to stop doing stupid things. To not take a chance regardless of the circumstances. A director for the National Transportation Safety Board was quoted in the newspaper as saying "younger drivers are more likely to do foolish things when other young people are in the car." So what do we do? Forbid our teenagers to ever drive again? Tell them they must drive alone in the car? Take away their license? What?
My kids are grown, with vehicles of their own. Does this mean I don't worry? Of course not. Every time I hear of an accident I watch to make sure it isn't their car on the tv screen. Every time I pass an accident near my home, again I look to make sure it's not their car. My children are not perfect. They are far from it. They make mistakes and I hope they learn from them.
Unfortunately, these 5 will never have the chance to learn from their mistakes. Now, the family and friends left behind will mourn them, miss them and wonder why something so senseless had to happen. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members.