I’m a huge baseball fan and the world was shaken recently by the death of Josh Hancock of the St. Louis Cards. The second I heard about it, I said, “two to one he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.” My dad’s a trauma surgeon and I’ve seen first-hand the difference that a seat belt can make. It is so dramatic that it over-rides my usual Libertarian leaning so that I absolutely support seat belt laws.
(Again, if we lived in a pitiless society that let brain-damaged quads die, opposing seat belt laws would be fine. But we don’t. Thank God we don’t.)
Anyway, now we find out that Josh Hancock was not only not wearing a seat belt, but was drunk, possibly high, speeding and chatting on the cell phone. Under those circumstances, I’m merely grateful he didn’t take anyone else with him.
It’s a horrible tragedy to see anyone under the age of 70 die these days. And I’m not saying, “oh, he deserved it!”. No one does. I just hope that all the mourning baseball players, fans and sports twerps will use this as an example, an inspiration to not drink and drive, to stay off the cell phone, to keep the speed down and, above all else, to realize they are not indestructible and buckle their fucking seat belts!.
Professional athletes, it seems, are particularly vulnerable to thinking themselves invulnerable. How many more stories do we need of promising young athletes destroying themselves with recreational drugs, alcohol, steroids, car racing (Sue and I used to always be able to tell with Ravens practice ended in Owings Mills — fifteen sports cars would race to downtown Baltimore). Yes, the pressures athletes live under are unthinkable. But this has to stop.
As I said in the wake of the VT massacre, the best way to honor the dead is to live for them. Let’s hope a few baseball players start buckling up. Let’s hope everyone does.