A few weeks ago my daughter, Kari, was involved in a fender-bender. It was at very low-speed and no one was injured, thank goodness. She rolled into the rear end of another couple’s car at an intersection just a stone’s throw away from our home. She was distracted. Just prior to the collision a karate studio was set-up roadside passing out fliers that offered free lessons. They handed one to Kari and she was stuffing it in her purse when she hit the other car.
First, this wasn’t an “accident” because it was completely avoidable. I call it what it is, a collision. It certainly wasn’t an “incident” either. People use that word, incident, as an attempt to lessen the perceived severity. I heard it all the time during the criminal trial and sentencing from the defendants. They used it ad nauseam to replace “beating” and “attack”. Instead of saying “on the night of the attack” they would minimize it by saying “on the night of the incident”. Hogwash!
Everyone in my family has been involved in a collision. I don’t recall Sue ever being at-fault, but Kari, Ryan, and I actually caused one each. Mine was decades ago, back in 1989, but the passage of time doesn’t make me any more innocent. From that day forward, I accept that society views me as a collision-risk. I don’t like it, but it’s what I am because I capable of doing it. The proof is undeniable. I’ve done it before and I could do it again. Like Kari, I wasn’t paying complete attention and coasted into the back of another vehicle (a dump truck).
In each case, we shouldered the responsibility. We acted quickly to correct the damage we caused. We apologized. We accepted and paid the consequences; monetarily and otherwise. We did all we could to reduce the inconvenience to those we affected. We certainly didn’t blame the victims! It wasn’t the karate studio that caused Kari’s collision. In my case, it wasn’t the radio’s poor reception that caused me to look down to adjust the radio’s tuner. We didn’t deflect blame to the manufacturer of our car’s brakes or bumper. There was no attempt to fault the city’s landscapers for making the car blend into the background. We didn’t blame the Virginia D.O.T. for the placement of their traffic light.
Nor did we try to somehow implicate the other driver. There was no asinine claim that had their car been equipped with sirens and colorful, high-intensity lights that this all would have been avoided. Hell, I suppose if they just wouldn’t have stopped and kept moving this whole “incident” would have been averted. How dare they occupy the same space we plowed into! What were they doing in “our” lane anyhow?
Allow me to take this even a step further. Suppose I suggested that the driver in front had slammed their car into reverse and hit our car? Perhaps their brake lights were burnt out?
Do you see my point? Sure, my assertions that the other driver is contributory is ludicrous. I know this. Yet, these are the defenses employed by many who just don’t want to be found responsible and accountable. They lie. Deception is the order-of-the-day. Here, insinuations are taken to absurd extremes, without a thought to logical or practical outcomes.
They argue that a specific action or result is true because we don’t know that it is false, dispute the absurdity or impossibility. When this fails, they attempt to counter another’s claims or conclusions by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument or facts. This is known as an ad hominem argument logical fallacy and is something we’ve all experienced in the comments section of certain posts supporting the attackers. Sadly, I actually witnessed, and continue to witness, both of these… plus several other logical fallacies (in my opinion). It continues to this day in our world by those who enable and paint-over criminal and negligent actions. Sometimes parents are the worst at this when their child is involved.
Okay, enough of what universities cover on the first day of LOGIC 101. What it boils down to is just doing the right thing. Yes, it’s sometimes uncomfortable and embarrassing. It can throw a person’s finances into chaos. For the really egregious, civil rights — like the right to vote or possess a firearm — can be denied. Even though one can easily buy firearms or just AR-15 upper receivers from easy to access online stores. The chances of being considered a viable mate is diminished. Really, what’s the quality and character of a person who would find this desirable anyhow? Then there’s the realization that creditworthiness and insurability are zero. Earning potential is shattered.
Still, I believe that none of these excuse. Ever. It makes no matter whether the intent or outcome were planned or not.
This “intent and outcome” will be a topic for another day. I just have one thing to say about it today. Clearly, if the intent is to harm (e.g., kicking someone in the head or sucker-punching someone in the face) and the outcome is as intended (e.g., bodily harm) then criminal and civil consequences are proper and justified. Those who inflict this carnage on another should step-up and take responsibility on their own accord. Otherwise, those who hold them accountable will see to it. With endless determination and/or vengeance.
…in my opinion.
Surely you’re not comparing negligent fender benders with an intentional, brutal attack on a defenseless person. It’s a lot easier to step up and not force proof of guilt when it’s merely an insurance deductible. When it comes to multiple years of jail time, people defend against it, forcing the other side to prove it. If you committed a serious felony, I doubt you would just plead guilty and ask for the maximum jail sentence. You can’t fault Vantrease and May for pleading not guilty and taking it to trial.
Imagine if your child committed an intentional felony. Would you encourage them to plead guilty and ask for the maximum jail sentence? I doubt it. You’d want to fight it and keep them out of jail.
There should be less hate on this site, it’s not Christian to carry on so much hate for others.
I wish Ryan and his family the best.
Doing the right thing is not contingent on degree of negative personal consequences. It’s about accountability. That’s my way of thinking.
As for me (or my child) and I were guilty, the right thing would be to plead guilty then beg for mercy from the victim and court.
For clarity, I make no claim that this is a Christian — or any other type of religious — site (I lost faith years ago).
sue g says
I suspect it is the ‘hate and anger’ that keeps ken fighting for his son and no doubt it wells up everyday when looking into his son’s (sewn) eyes. Who are we (or you) to judge what is right for him or others who feel the injustice and outrage of what happened to this family.
“It’s not Christian to carry on so much hate for others.” ???? What’s not Christian is hitting someone with such force you shatter their jaw, fracturing ones skull and kicking a defenseless person in the head??
Interesting how you don’t mention those unchristian acts.
And you’re Christian?? Posting your judgmental thoughts on here about how Ken and others should grieve/feel?!? And you “wish Ryan and his family the best.” ??? No prayers? I wished my neighbors ‘the best’ when they were moving overseas, or my newly married niece and husbands move to CA.
No one is forcing you to click on this site.
Gail Doyle says
Oh Sue G., How I agree completely with you, who is forcing him???????
Katie Rye says
Being hit is what got us in this mess. You and her handled it much better then the guy that hit us did. First thing he did was go out and get a lawyer as Ben and I were fighting for our lives. He walked away without a scratch, Ben still battles to get even close to a normal. Yes, he got lots of money for his wrong actions and saying it was our fault. The latter we will never know because we don’t remember!
I try to forgive but his actions drastically changed our lives forever and his untouched.
There is no excuse for the boys that beat your precious son. It should have never happened. They for sure need to be punished for all to see that they and others cannot get away with excuses or for the tragedy they have caused.
Continuing to pray for your family!
Ginger Henry via Facebook says
Wow, Ken. Wow!!!! BRAVO!!!!!!
Jenny Regalia says
Hello Ken and Sue and sweet Ryan,
Just wanted you all to know how my visit months ago have impacted my life. I think of you all everyday and often see Ryan through young men that I see throughout my days. I tell Ryan’s story often. Im still so mad that this happen, and that Ryan’s active life was cut short by punks!!!!
How blessed Ryan is to have you all right there by his side, doing all that you all do, and fighting for him every minute of every day!!! Keep on keeping on!
My letter to the Parole Board is printed and will be mailed today!!!!
Sending xoxoxooxxo to you all
Jenny Regalia 🙂
I feel just awful for Kari, and made it worse after forgetting her birthday, but I’ll catch up — I promise. Sometimes we get way too distracted with what is going on in our own life, and I am guilty of this. Going to clean up my act, you betcha!
Beautifully written article, Ken. Shout it from the roof-tops! Hear ye, hear ye… …
Love you all and pray continually, even if distracted at times.
And I agree with Jo — this excellent essay needs to be published for the general public.
Gail Doyle says
And one AMEN from me ..YOU did hit the nail on the head ,Ken. We should all take responsibility for what is “our” doing. Praying justice prevails. Hugs to Ryan LOve Gail
Carla Liberty says
Adding a resounding AMEN!
Jo Hobbs via Facebook says
Ah, Kenneth, one of your best! Send it to whoever will print it or read it on TV!
Jaimi Dean Franus via Facebook says
Rita! You beat me to it. Amen!
Rita Caporicci Hoop via Facebook says
John Maletta says
Once again, you nailed it!