I made a promise to be more positive in my blogs rather than just “rant” because I do not rant on stage and my blogs became incongruent with my life’s work. The trouble is that I opened my daily online news site this Monday morning with the first story being about yet another tale of innocent human carnage caused by an impaired driver. Of course, any death caused by impaired drivers is tragic, but this story is painful. Gary Neville, 65 was killed along with his grandchildren, siblings Daniel (9), Harry (5) and Millie (2), The children’s mother, Jennifer, who also lost her father in the crash courageously spoke to the media questioning the judgement of the alleged killer, 29 year old Marco Muzzo, the grandson of a billionaire real estate developer from the area. The accident occurred North of Toronto in the Vaughn area and was blamed on the accused T-boning the mini-van carrying the dead at an intersection. Not only was the alleged murderer impaired but also speeding in the middle of the day. By the way, all of my descriptors, “killer, murderer” may seem a bit much but they are accurate. True, his actions are “alleged” because clearly, he has not been convicted but he was the sole occupant and driver of the high-end sport model Jeep and was arrested and charged at the scene. I don’t want to focus on the obvious tragedy, but on one word the grieving mother who it appears lost all her children (no press confirmation) used…”Judgment”.
We have pretty much “all” lost someone in an impaired incident. I have had my share including a very dear friend in 1988 and a nephew five years ago. I also want to state that I’m sure the majority of perpetrators didn’t get drunk or stoned and then decided to get behind the wheel to go kill someone. The trouble is when they do kill somone, they became a killer because of the choice they made. Have I driven impaired? Yes! I have a quip that says in rural Saskatchewan in the 1970’s, drinking and driving was a skill! I stopped using it because it just stopped being funny! True or not, it was never right and after my son was born 30 years ago, I promised to never do it again. I probably slipped a few times driving after a couple of beers or glasses of wine but never “drunk”! I am not bragging, I am saying it is a “choice”. My wife and I were in Kelowna, BC for a birthday party a week ago and our hotel was less than ten minutes from the party but we took a cab. But aside from focusing on our “choices” allow me to address the bigger subject…Narcissism!
There is a line we all have heard of and my wife and I joke about all the time…”It’s All About Me!” The humour, sadly, gets lost when you apply it to the core cause of so many of society’s flaws. Ironically, having no arms, I was taught at an early age by my parents that I would unwillingly have to live under a microscope. First, because everyone notices and more importantly, “remembers” me, how I behave is huge and I have screwed that up more times than I prefer. Then, becoming a public figure through my telethons, media appearances and now my speaking career, the scrutiny is intense. Thank God! it is a pain but also a blessing to have a constant reminder “the world is watching”. That attention to character is a powerful driver of my life. My wife, Darlene and I (and lots of others) have adopted the word “Consciousness”. Can you say that?
We all know and observe people who clearly live their lives as if “in a bubble” completely unaware that there are other people alive. People who dart into elevators, busses or trains without politely allowing others to exit. People who speak so loudly on their cellphones while in public, you know the conversation yourself. People who won’t let you merge in traffic because someone may get in front of them! Look, I could go on and on but I again want to ask the question…”Do you live your life as if someone is always watching?” When we can learn the habit of living every day with awareness of our surroundings, the awareness of our actions, our decisions and our choices, we can then honour other human beings without even knowing them and as a result, become honourable human beings ourself. If every impaired driver “chose” not to get behind the wheel, imagine the unfathomable numbers of human beings that would still be here instead of being mourned by confused and angry family and friends who can only ask…Why?