tragedies…

Tragedy never seems to stop effecting us, one punch right after another, its always around the corner… a drunk driving incident, followed by a shooting, they never seem to stop, or do they? Do they just get so publicized that it just seems like it is always around us? And how do we decide what is worse? Who’s crime takes the cake…

An 18 year old boy, who was born in the war torn nation of Bosnia, a boy who was the witness of so much hate and murder, a little boy who fled with his mother to America. He grew up without a father, with psychological trauma because of the genocide he witnessed. This young man was a boy who jumped from school to school, and eventually he dropped out all together, a growing man that fell through the cracks as he never attended a peer mentor ship program during school transfers, maybe that could have helped him? Unfortunately we will never know. Unfortunately the tragedy of this young man continued as he put on his black trench coat and made his way to Trolley Square on the evening of Monday February 12th. Pulling a shotgun out from under his coat he ruthlessly shoot and killed 5 people, and injuring many others. Six minutes had passed since the shots had been fired, the police had him in their sights. This young man died in the middle of a crowded mall, right next to the body of one of his victims. Or was he a victim to society? Was he a victim to the mass genocide that he saw his own nation do to his own people as he grew up?

An additional tragedy happened only days before, another young man at the ripe age of seventeen years, got behind the wheel of a car sopping drunk. This man was from a well to do family on the eastern side of the Salt Lake Valley. A boy who grew up with everything he could have ever wanted. Yet, this boy decided that waiting for the age of 21 was not in the order of the night. After drinking to his hearts content, he jumped into his SUV as he mentally determined that he was in the right to drive himself home, yet alone sober enough to see the lines on the road. Moments later he crashed into an Jetta oncoming traffic carrying a family of five, he was the only to walk away without injuries from the incident. The father and the families six year old son were the only to survive in the car, the pregnant mother, her fetus, and two of her children – one 11 and the other 9 years old died within minutes of emergency personnel arriving on the scene.

Now what makes one of these worse? Whom is more at fault, who can be the one to push the blame too, who can we hold responsible for these crimes? In the case of the trolley square incident, could we hold the mother responsible for allowing her child to have access to a weapon. Or perhaps the school system for not paying attention to the mental status of this man. Or perhaps the nation of Bosnia for allowing him to be exposed to such hateful genocide, that caused him psychological damage? Or in the case of the drunk minor, do we blame him for causing the deaths of the family. Or do we blame the person that he was drinking with – because they allowed him to get behind the wheel in his condition. Or do we blame a psychological addiction that caused this boy to drink. Or is it his families fault for not knowing what their seventeen year old was out doing?

Can we rest these cases on intent? At trolley square the man calmly went about and ended five peoples lives far to early, yet that morning he knew that today was the day that he had planned to cause this extreme devastation. But what do we say about the driving? No doubt did he think for one second that he may kill someone, yet alone a whole family with his actions that very day.

Today that young man sits before a Utah court to decide if he is to be tried as an adult or as a teen. What should happen to this boy? Should we forgive him like the father of the family who was killed? Or do we put him into a federal prison because of the crime that he committed? Or do we just sit back and allow the pain of trauma to pass…