Please be careful

It was an act of carelessness that caused no harm, but carried the potential for irony of the worst sort.

Yesterday afternoon as I drove west on the turnpike, there were several people gathered at the corner of Illinois Avenue and the turnpike — the site of a terrible accident that took the life of 12-year old Ashley Paine just days ago.

As we approached the intersection the light turned yellow, but the vehicle traveling next to mine apparently had his mind on the gathering rather than the road.  As the light turned red I stopped, only to watch that vehicle honk his horn to the gathering (mourners?  protesters?) and cruise on through the red light at the busiest intersection in town.

Nothing happened.  Thank God nothing happened.  But that simple, careless moment of distraction could have been another tragedy.

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People are dealing with this loss in differing ways.  One of those ways, for some, is searching for something or someone to blame.  It is not my place to decide who’s grieving and who’s just looking for something to bolster their own civic protest, nor to dictate how anyone should mourn or show support for those who are.  If gathering at the corner brings you comfort, by all means do so.  If honking your horn at those gathered makes you feel camaraderie with them, okay.  But there’s surely no comfort to be gained in risking the safety of yourself and others in your distraction.

So please do be careful.  A second tragedy would be difficult to handle right now.

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