Friday, October 20, 2006

In The Blink of An Eye

I got the news not too long ago that some friends of ours are experiencing their own personal hell on earth.

A young couple, they have two small girls and just bought their first house less than a year ago. Which is no mean feat here in SoCal, where the median home price is over 500,000. They have worked hard to educate themselves, he being a professional currently working on a Master's Degree, she a teacher. After years of struggle, they saved long enough to realize their dreams, and life seemed to be full of promises for a wonderful future.

Until one of them hit a little boy with their car.

In a hurry, running late because some mornings, despite the best intentions of everyone, just turn out that way. Stopping at a stop sign and crosswalk. Checking but perhaps not checking a second time before pressing that gas pedal. The morning sun, which was just at that perfect angle to blind your peripheral vision, was a major factor. They didn't see him enter the crosswalk. If they had, you can be sure there is no way on earth they would have ever entered the intersection.

But it doesn't matter. Because they still ran over a child with their car. With their own children inside, strapped safely in their carseats. They are responsible, sun or hurry or whatever the reason.

The child was in the hospital for over a week with broken bones and internal injuries. The child's recovery and therapy is just beginning.

The trouble for our friends is also just beginning. The horrible thing is, the guilt they have for doing this is crushing. They have nightmares about it. They are good, honest and honorable people. I feel so badly for them, for legal trouble is looming in that once bright future, and as the good, honest people that they are, they will accept the punishment given to them by the court. But they face the possibility of losing their home and future wages. Much that they have worked for, taken away.

On one hand, I think it is horrible to have that happen to them. My eyes well in sympathy at what they must be going through. But then as a parent, I can't help but know in my heart that if it was my child or one of my friend's children that had been hurt, I would want the law and judicial system exercised to the fullest extent. I feel just as badly for the parents of the boy who was injured.

And I can't help but think it could have been any one of us.

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