Darwin was Wrong

January 27, 2005

Most of you will have heard of this incident by now. I heard about it on the news and on some of the news sites I read.

First off, let me say that my prayers and thoughts go out to the families of the victims. This is senseless tragedy and no doubt conjures up a good deal of frustration and rage with society and it’s inhabitants.

Now, to the heart of the matter, and why Darwin was wrong, I’ll begin by stating that if Darwin had been right, this jackass (and, yes, he’s probably a very sick individual, needing hours of therapy and tax-payer money to help him led a normal and productive life and we should all recognize this and go out of our way to help him) would have been the one to perish. In Darwin’s theory apparently the strong eat the weak. Would anyone like to argue with me that this … um, man, is somehow stronger than the folks who were killed in the accident? If you do, please click your back button and go read something else because, frankly, we won’t be able to have a productive discussion on this subject.

It’s obvious he won’t be charged with first degree murder, that has to be pre-meditated and I doubt this strapping specimen of manhood can think that far ahead. Really. You’re going to kill yourself, (and, yes, again, I realize he’s disturbed and crying out for help but, regardless, he needs to face the consequence – seems in our country today the deal is to figure out how NOT to face consequence by figuring out the right heart-strings to pull) you pick a nice open train track to part your car on and have someone else do the deed for you, (already removing yourself of taking responsibility for your actions) you then chicken out (or, as I’m sure the lawyers will put it “you have a change of heart”) so you get out of your car and leave your vehicle in the path of the train and watch the train explode, killing 11 people in the process. Obviously not the brightest bulb on the planet.

So, second degree murder charges will be most likely. If he gets manslaughter blame the lawyers. If he walks free, blame the jury. If he goes into a nice cushy psych ward for five years and then walks free, blame the psychiatric expert witness.

I feel for the man’s obvious pain (and the restraining order preventing him from seeing his wife and child I’m sure was tantamount to emotional stress that just wasn’t fair) but let’s wake up America. No more excuses. No more screwing around and finding the hidden skeleton in the closet and how we just can’t deal with the fact that when we were in third grade we were picked on relentlessly and therefore developed a serious character flaw undermining or psychological and social growth and leading to all sorts of ridiculous claims when we are adults and should take full responsibility for ourselves.

Children 18 years old or younger are given fortunes in our society to play basketball or make movies. Most of them (and, yes, I’ll avoid the generalization and not state all of them) have no idea how to be responsible, how to deal with something like this because frankly, it’s like handling yourself in combat. You can be prepared all you want, have all the training you need, have the best intentions and still when the caca hits the fan, it’s a whole new ballgame. But most of these kids haven’t had the training (from good parenting and strong mentors) let alone the intentions to see the right thing done. Our society continues to take steps in leaps and bounds away from a fundamental structure of moral strength toward an ambiguous state of “free thinking.” I’m all for the idea that creative and individual merit and thought are foundations for enlightenment and innovation. But without a basis in morals this free thinking is nothing more than an excuse to do what we want, when we want, because we can and feel like it.

Freedom is not free. It must be earned. It must be paid for. It must be respected. And above all we must respect it.

What is going to happen in the case of the train crash is that someone is going to hire lawyers to look at every aspect of this case and try to make excuses for why this man behaved the way he did. Some of these excuses will be idiotic, like trying to blame the train company for the fact that they use trains to push the cars and no longer pull the cars, thus preventing the stronger engines that pull the cars from simply pushing this truck out of the way. Many of those excuses I’m certain will be true and painful, like the fact he was obviously under extreme mental duress. But should this, in anyway shape or form, prevent this man from facing (and accepting) the responsibility for what he did?

In a word, no.