Statistics can tell us many things, but they are only numbers without a human face, empty of feeling, empty of meaning. On November 19, 2016 my brother was killed by an impaired driver and became one more number in the unending string of statistics that represent human beings snatched from life. No, they did not die – they were cruelly and forever taken from the daily lives of their family and friends; senselessly slaughtered on the highways and byways without a second thought by the people who choose to tip back a bottle or a glass. Death by any other means would be acceptable, though painful, for those of us left behind – this needless and sudden wrenching away of loved ones must be stopped, but how?
Several of my family members are petitioning government for stricter laws, and I applaud them, but I think it goes deeper than that. I think it is still socially acceptable to drink and drive and that needs to change. And going even deeper I believe alcoholism and drug abuse are symptoms of people in extreme pain who are using either alcohol or drugs to self medicate, to numb the pain. Our mental health care is sadly lacking while government racks up millions in taxes from the sale of alcohol. What good will it do to lock people up once the deed is done? That is not to say people should not be held accountable for their actions for indeed they should, but we also need to look at ourselves as a society and ask ourselves what value we put on human life. My brother is more than a statistic and I need people to know that.