Saturday, June 14, 2008

Drunk Driving Hoax

When we criticize the government, I think it is imperative to remember what it does: collect and spend money. So when I read stories like this, I think, ‘These are my tax dollars at work?’

At a high school in Oceanside, California, police officers entered high school classrooms on a Monday morning and informed students that several of their classmates had been killed instantly in wrecks caused by drun
k drivers. Understandably, the teenagers wept. Some became hysterical. Why is this a story? It was a hoax. Everyone was fine; the story was concocted as a way to drive home the perils of drunken driving to impressionable teenagers.

What the hell were these people thinking? When I was in high school, two girls that were in my chemistry class were killed in a drunk driving accident. I wasn’t friendly with them, though I knew their names, yet the news shook me. Friends of the girls were bereft. It is rare that I have seen such shock and pain as I did that afternoon in class.

I don’t think we really have a sense of life and death when we are teenagers: though we intellectually know we won’t live forever, the reality hasn’t hit us emotionally. But when one of your peers is killed, it wakes you up in a hurry. Extra counselors came into our school when a death occurred to help students deal with their grief. I even remember some students going home early because the grief was too much for them. Classes ground to a halt for at least a solid day.

Perpetrating such a hoax is an unconscionable act, despite the rationalization given by authorities. Teenage drunken driving is a problem, but inflicting emotional duress in such a callous manner in the name of scaring students straight is so egregious that I find it difficult to imagine how this was green lit.

Were I a parent and/or taxpayer in Oceanside, California, I would be even more outraged than I am now. This is how you are going to spend our tax dollars? Damaging someone emotionally to the point that they need counseling, counseling that I will likely have to pay for with even more of my tax dollars.

What the hell were they thinking?

1 comment:

Brendan Moody said...

Stunningly stupid and thoughtless. Our cultural desperation to diminish the harm done by drunk driving has caused us to lose sight of the damage that can be done by "drug education" programs. I have grave doubts about whether they work anyway, but even efficacy couldn't excuse this kind of emotional abuse.