Saturday, September 20, 2008
Where Do We Go Now?
The person who killed Sarah earlier this week has got away free and clear. Though it is public record that they were reaching for a cell phone while driving a 3200 lb. vehicle, there will be no consequences for them to pay except for "feeling really bad." Its obvious that a handful of laws were broken in order for her to be hit, but hey, it was an accident and God forbid HPD rock the boat by charging a registered voter during an election year.
Then we go on to read the local blogs with every highschool drop out chiming in with their two-cents on how she should have been on a sidewalk... then a city official stating that the police rarely enforce the no-riding-on-sidewalks law. I guess that's enforced about as much as the no-murdering-innocent-cyclists law.
I realize that the person that hit Sarah did not leave their house that morning intending to kill somebody but then again, Sarah didnt leave intending to get killed and her parents didnt raise her and love her with the plan to have her killed by someone too self involved to accept responsibility for their own neglegince.
The motorists name is public record now and it makes me wonder, if taken aside and asked what they will take away from this tragedy, what would they say? Ideally, i would love to interview this person and come away with a heart wrenching tale that is so powerful it speaks universally...a story that touches the hearts on both sides and then, as if in a movie, one day, while driving down the road, a father turns to his son and teaches him the importance of sharing the roads, the importance of respecting others space whether its their choice or not, and teaching him that driving is a responsibility and privilege.
So I would like to know, if face to face with this person, what would you ask them? What would you like to happen to this person? There is a story coming out in the paper tomorrow regarding the ghost bike which was put up as a memorial to Sarah. Now the city has taken it down and is making a bigger deal about a spray-painted bike than the actual incident itself. A letter writing campaign has started to remedy the situation.
Please let these folks know how you feel about the situation. My personal thoughts on the situation are:
1) The ghost bike thing, while not a big deal, just shows how f'd up the system here in Huntsville really is. A person dies and a bike locked to a pole is your priority. Um, ok.
2) The person who hit Sarah may have no idea how many people want her head on a platter. I am sure their life is turned upside down but it pales in comparison to the Chapman family. Sometimes sorry is not enough no matter how many years you say it. Accept responsibilty for your actions; you killed someone!
3) I hope that something positive can come out of this negative. Can the loss of a 20 year old college student commuting to work or school make Huntsville wake up and see how dangerous the roads are for cyclist, who, whether you like it or not, are here to stay? Can motorist realize how dangerous all these modern distractions can be? answer your phone, change a dvd, enter a new address in your Garmin...hit a cyclist, go to jail! Slow down and pull over!
4) Somehow, someone of authority can see how horrible HPD really is. They are undeniably anti-cyclist and this poses a conflict of interest to the public. The state needs to step in and enforce state-wide legislature to get with the times, make alabama a green state, and make the streets safe for all those who travel upon them, not just joe-gas-guzzler.
Anyhow, I have my opinions and I am genuinely open to hearing others. This is a serious topic and people are very heated. i tend to have extreme view points but want to hear others of any opinion. Open debate is healthy right? Does anyone know the motorist? name?