Thursday’s Child

Yesterday, a six-year-old girl was killed while crossing the street. 

Apparently, some young jackass decided that driving down the road like a normal human being was a bit too oppressive for him, so – as so many of his ilk are wont to do – he thought it’d be cool to just floor his accelerator.  The aggravating part is that once he hit the child (he actually hit three or four people, to be honest), he kept on going – too scared to man-up to what he’d done.  Far as I know, the police are still looking for this piece of crap.

One of the issues that has been bothering me as of late is this new-found fad of driving like a maniac through town.  Each week, I visit a store on the far north-side of town; each week, I literally take the same route – in all the years I’ve traveled to this shop, I can only think of two other ways I’ve ventured over there.  If you know where to look, I’m guessing that you could probably set your watch by me (I’m a boring person as it is and this fact doesn’t help) – and yet I can only think of one instance out of all of those trips where I was able to drive that far and not be accosted on the road by some ass racing up behind me, cutting me off at an intersection, or doing some other dangerous, high-speed nonsense, all because he’s got nothing better to do.

A few months ago, one of these clowns ran into another vehicle, nearly killing the other driver and his passengers.  The offender realized that his own car was totaled, so what does he do?  He jumped out and started running away.  I don’t know if he was ever caught, but I do know that he didn’t give a damn about the people whose lives he nearly snuffed out all because driving 30 MPH in a residential area offended him.

I’ve come to accept that I’m getting old.  Not because of the physical evidence – that ship sailed long ago, I’m afraid – but because my mentality is shifting dramatically.  As someone who once worked in the judicial system, I was never a fan of the “Lock them up” mentality so many people seem to have.  Maybe that’s due to the religious influence of my father and childhood; I don’t know.  I just have never felt comfortable with that mindset, but I’m starting to slowly change my tune.

I’m tired of the lack of empathy, sympathy, and plain old compassion in the world, but what really sickens me is the callousness and sense of entitlement that seems to have filled the void.  People whose sole value in life is to “get theirs,” regardless of how it impacts those around them.  People who believe that they should get what they want, because they exist.  People who find it inconceivable that someone might possess a valid point of view that conflicts with their own.

Who knows what good that six-year-old might have brought to the world one day?  Who knows what lives she might have impacted or influenced?  I have no children, but I can’t imagine having a child – a six year old filled with wonder and curiosity – and seeing that life snuffed out permanently by such a selfish and pointless act.  It broke my heart to see her mother on television, being interviewed by a reporter (who kept shoving that damn microphone into her tear-stained face – another thing I hate), and it made me wonder what kind of jackass just runs over a child – and not stop to check on her?  Not stop to take responsibility for what he’s done?

I remind myself during times like this that the offender – however lowly I might think of him – began life as a child, too.  That he was once held, nursed, and loved.  That someone played ‘Peekaboo’ with him, and cheered when he learned to tie his shoe.  I want to be merciful and understanding.  But then I wonder what happened to him in his short life to drain him of all feeling and compassion – such that would allow him to leave a child dying in the middle of a filthy road.

I’m tired and frustrated, and there seems to be no relief or respite on the horizon.  Each day, my faith in humanity slowly drips away, and I truly fear that one day it’ll be gone for good.

Forgive my frustration.  It’s just that I honestly don’t get this.

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