I can legally drive! After over 6 weeks of having my ass hauled around, I finally jumped through all of the hoops required to get an "employment driving permit". Since I work a day job and a night job, I have virtually unlimited driving privileges. It's great to have my freedom back. Being a passenger was good for me. It gave me a different perspective on things. It made me realize that I have been taking certain things for granted.
I attended a Victim Impact Panel this week as part of my DUI penalties. It was interesting. The session was held in a small meeting room in the basement of a dive motel. Considering the $50 cash fee to attend the class, you'd think they could find a nicer motel. The large group of offenders was a true slice of Sioux Town population. Native Americans, Mexicans, and average white folks like me. Two locals spoke about their personal losses due to alcohol and driving. Both of them had sad experiences. However the video they showed to close out the meeting was the real tear-jerker.
The video showed a father giving the eulogy for his teenage son who had been killed by a drunk driver. The drunk lost control of his car and smashed into the rear of the stopped car the teenager was driving. It was very sad, hearing him talk about the things he and his son had done together and the things they would not be able to do. The video also included an interview with the 23-year-old who killed the teenage boy. I found this to be the most sad part of the evening. This young man was sentenced to 17 years to life without parole. He had drank 6 40 ounce Mickey's, snorted 4 lines of meth, smoked 2 joints and finished the night with 2 light beers. He should not have been behind the wheel of a car!
Think of the hell he lives in. He won't see his 2-year-old son grow up. He'll be forty, or older when he is released. His son will be out of high school. But, the real hell would be laying in prison night after night, alone, knowing that he killed a 17-year-old boy, much like himself. Alone. He can't hug his wife. He can't ask his mother to hold him like only a mother can. Alone. The pain he has to live with was all over this young man's face. I know what he did was wrong. It was a terrible accident. I couldn't help but cry for this young man.
The silence in the room full of young and old drunks, was deafening. The video ended and the instructor announced that we were free to leave. As the room cleared I noticed a young Hispanic guy sitting in his folding chair with head in his hands. Mission accomplished.