“Come here you” Sandra said smiling at her 20 month old son, Aiden. “You going to jump some more for me?” Aiden had just learned to jump and had this adorable way of trotting joyously with miniature leaps sporadically choreographed in. He was running back and forth through their front yard, which was highlighted by dappled sunlight sneaking by the leaves of the large oak tree in their front yard. It was a very pleasant early fall day, and there were older neighborhood kids playing kickball that added an idyllic sound-scape to serve as background to Aiden’s delightful outbursts of pure joy.
“What a talented boy you are!” Sandra exclaimed as Aiden completed another lap of his wacky legged race. She gave him a hug and then patted him as he continued his trek through the front yard. Her phone rang and she looked and saw it was her sister calling. She decided not to pick up but to text her if it would be okay if they talked later. She was following Aiden towards the sidewalk tapping at her phone, as a squirrel up above was running haphazardly through the adjacent tree. She overheard one of the kids playing kickball say, “Car!” and saw them all huddle to the opposite side of the street. Sandra returned to her text, and so she didn’t see the squirrel fall out of the tree nor the startled girl shriek and jump into the road. She looked up when the girl shrieked and realized a car was bearing down on her. Fortunately for the young girl the driver saw her just in time and swerved to avoid her, but he turned with such force that his car hopped over the opposite curb, the curb where little Aiden was now squatting down admiring an acorn.
Aiden was buried in a closed casket three days later.
Sandra’s shrieks of pure horror that afternoon, as she witnessed the most devastating event any human should have to endure, woke people from their coma. Aiden was one of four kids under the age of 15 to be killed because of a car in the USA that day, an average day in the country known for it’s highways and love of cars and motor-sports.
Hopefully these words, based on many true stories, was sickening enough for you to reconsider the importance of commuting by car to work, of holding a job that requires you to drive, for most of our driving does take place on our way to and from work, and thus most of our preventable accidents. Can we really blame or explain these deaths with some higher power that we have no control over? Or should we blame and explain these deaths on the cars that are powerful enough to take several human lives just from one simple mistake by the driver, or a mistake in the engineering of the car.
We have the power to create the change before these crisis; we can save these people, it is very much in our hands. We need to stop with our violent machines, or else we are choosing to face the deaths of our loved ones as “accidents waiting to happen”…
LI sat on this probable scenario short fiction piece—unsure if I should publish it—but following the intentional use of a car as a weapon in Las Vegas I decided I should release it. I wanted to emphatically assert that, intentional or not, cars are weapons that we all are guilty to some degree or another of letting drive up the preventable, tragic, deaths that are numbered at over 3,000 per day.