The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting today on a 16 year old girl who died Sunday when the car she was in rolled over. It rolled because the drunk teenage driver was racing another teen. The driver, the son of a local judge, is on suicide watch.
This tragedy is heartbreaking enough, but what makes it worse is that this keeps happening.
There’s a memorial in front of my school for two young women who were killed in a speed-related traffic accident just off campus three years ago.
In 2002, two cars full of kids were returning to Las Vegas High School from lunch down a stretch of Sahara Avenue that kids often use for racing. They went too fast and one car crashed, killing two of the four girls in that car.
I worked there that year, and knew one of the survivors. I remember going to see her in the hospital, trying to cheer her up a bit. Her recovery was long and painful; she’s an adult by now, and I don’t know how fully she ever healed from her injuries. The other survivor lost a leg entirely.
The driver was friends with two girls in one of my classes. When the driver died, her friends told me that they were almost glad for her, because otherwise she’d have had to live knowing that she was responsible for killing another friend.
And yet, by the next year, kids were speeding down that street again. And in front of my current school, where the beautiful memorial reminds us of two more girls who died the same way, I see cars full of kids speeding nearly every day, going off into the desert or passing others on a two lane road.
I can’t help but wonder, how are we supposed to teach kids to write and calculate if we can’t even teach them not to kill themselves with reckless driving?