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If you kill someone, your life will end, too.

Letter to the Editor

March 14, 2018
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

If you kill someone, your life will end, too.

To the Editor:

A few Saturday mornings ago, I was backed up in traffic on eastbound Daniels by an accident just west of 75. Nothing fatal. The two cars and the police car were off to the side of the road. And though no one appeared injured and the struck car -- a Ford Focus kind of car -- seemed fully drivable, nevertheless there was a big enough dent in the struck car's right rear corner that its driver could have suffered physical distress. She was elderly and still in her own driver's seat, and the apparent driver of the rear, offending car -- a much younger man driving one of those heavy-framed, open-jeep-like vehicles with the roll bar -- was leaning against the woman's passenger window, talking with her, seemingly comforting her.

It was a safe, even if wrong, conclusion to jump to that he had been talking or texting on his phone and not paying attention, when he rear-ended the woman.

As I drove on and north on 75, I imagined myself presenting to an auditorium of young people, speaking slowly and with pauses to drive home the message, and ending with something like:

When you are driving, you have one and only one task: To drive. To give your every attention to driving.

Nothing else.

Because if you kill someone, in many ways your life will be over, too. Forgetting the anguish of that person's family and friends whose lives are crushed, and the anguish of your family and friends -- anguish you must see every day and know you caused -- whether you serve time behind bars or not, you will live the rest of your life in a prison of your own making. You will know you killed someone by momentary thoughtlessness you can never take back. Self-forgiveness will come hard.

If you kill someone, your life will end, too.

Larry Witzleben

Fort Myers



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