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 drunk 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?