Last night, around 12:30, lives were changed at SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin. From what I have read to this point, a drunk driver was pulled over at a gas station for drunk driving and he decided to escape. He drove off from the scene with police chasing him. He headed downtown and drove through some barricades and directly into the crowds for SXSW. Witnesses say he was traveling at a high rate of speed – one person estimated 70 mph. He hit a moped, killing both of the people on it. He injured 23 others, 5 of them critically.
Not only were the ones who were struck impacted by this event, but the ones who witnessed the event. I have seen video of the early aftermath with people administering CPR to victims in the street. I can’t imagine the mix of emotions one might feel after watching such an event happen. Families of those directly and indirectly involved in this event have been thrust into it as well and will spend the coming days helping others try to make sense of something that was senseless.
Whenever there is an incident of a single person using a gun to go on a rampage, officials vehemently cry that we should ban guns. The school shooting in Newtown. The movie theater shooting in Colorado recently. In the immediate days afterwards, politicians used it as a platform to state their case. Even the President threatened to enact legislation on his own and to go around Congress.
I’m curious if we will hear vehement cries for the banning of alcohol or of cars after last night’s incident at SXSW? When we hear of stabbings, nothing is said about banning knives. People die from drugs all of the time, and now we legalize them instead of banning them. Video games often glorify killing and desensitize individuals from the act of killing, yet no one goes after that industry. Film makers and artists create movies that are bloody and filled with death – again, desensitizing people to the reality of death and sometimes even making it a funny act. Then they have the gall to come out and criticize the violence around them, and then go sign a deal to make yet another violent movie.
The point is…anything could be used for evil in the hands of evil doers. Guns would not kill anyone without someone to put ammunition in them and pull the trigger. Knives kill no one without a hand firmly grabbing the handle. Drugs don’t kill anyone unless injected, smoked, swallowed, etc. I’m sure a popsicle stick, in the hands of someone, could be made into an instrument of death. The issue is not the instrument itself, its the heart of mankind. Some people just are intent on killing others and if you take the gun away from them, they’ll go find something else to accomplish their goal. The heart must be addressed – ethics, morality, integrity, right from wrong. Our society glorifies bad decisions and makes light of them. Until this changes, expect more of the same.
The man at SXSW last night, if I had to guess, hadn’t planned on killing anyone and things spiraled out of control. It’s no excuse. He should pay a severe penalty for his act of selfishness and stupidity. Decisions have consequences. And most often, someone else’s decision force others to deal with consequences.
My heart and prayers go out to all of those who have been impacted by the events of last night.