Infinity and Beyond
Now, the question is begged, but unraised in any of the reports I read or heard about this Infinity crash: why is a 14-year-old at a party, in the presence of alcohol, late into the night? It may sound patronizing, demeaning, stodgy, to ask that question, or it may come off as insensitive. But I can’t help but wonder about parental responsibility, not legal culpability, but the average commonsense about allowing a 14-year-old to go to a house party in the watches of the night. And I also wonder why no one dares to raise such apparently forbidden questions—queries about the relationship between ethical responsibility, forethought, and outcome. When a student wins the national spelling bee or receives a perfect score on the SAT or ACT, the parents are invariably interviewed about their practices with their winning child.
No one wakes up in the morning and plans to die, I realize that. We quickly rise from our beds and dive into routines that make some sense of our day. But we never include in our list of things the prospect of death nor those deeds that tend to “invite” it, as far as human logic goes (as opposed to fate and decree). This past month nearly every other day we read in the local newspapers young teenagers who are killed in car accidents. Their family members tell reporters that their loved ones were just going on an errand or enthusiastic about visiting a friend or marching off to some party, but only to have their plans interrupted by collisions that claim their lives. Then suddenly they are confronted with a reality unlike anything they could have imagined, a reality they were unprepared for.
As I have the feature up on my screen now, I can’t help but feel grief for the family and wonder about the crisis of parental wisdom and sqeemish journalism in daring to broach issues of ethics and commonsense.