I wish I were surprised by the news of Jaqueline Olivares’ death.
I have nothing but sympathy for her parents; the grief of losing a child isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. However, the sad fact is that this is nothing new.
Ignorant people get drunk, ignorant people drive drunk, and ignorant people kill the innocent.
We make laws and we educate people on the effects of alcohol to try to prevent these sorts of tragedies. We can regulate, we can teach, we can limit, and we can discipline; but there’s no restriction, no enlightenment that can penetrate the thick mindedness of someone convinced that they “drive fine when they’ve had a few.”
All we can do right now – as a community and as intelligent human beings – is be realistic about how people behave when given certain opportunities, and take every chance going forward to prevent these sorts of tragedies. Which is why we need to ask ourselves, as part of the Texas A&M University – Kingsville community:
Should we have been back at school this week?
Everyone knows the first week back in class is a blow off week. Everyone knew that due to Martin Luther King Jr. day, this long weekend was another opportunity to get together, barbecue, and have a few beers.
Some colleges don’t even begin the spring semester until after the holiday; why do we? Why do we have all our students make the sometimes hundreds of miles drive from their home cities back to Kingsville, then almost immediately give them another break?
Why do we bring them back to our small community and give them the perfect occasion to party, to goof off, to get drunk?
I place no blame nor responsibility for Jaqueline’s death on anyone. But these are the questions we need to ask ourselves in the face of profound loss: What can we change? What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
We can: 1) have more alchol-related awareness, 2) not start the semester off so early, and 3) watch out for each other.