Don’t Laud ‘Tragedy’ When It Occurs

People still aren’t getting the message, it seems, when it comes to enjoying a celebration. Christmas certainly is not the only time when people break out the libations and celebrate, and when alcohol or harder substances become involved, people lose their reasoning, sometimes to the extent of losing control. That’s when tragedy occurs, and those left behind try to honor the loved one’s memory. However, people forget one thing: don’t laud tragedy when it occurs.

(By C Maranon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons) (By C Maranon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)Take Scott Weiland, for instance. This was a man who had incredible talent and a family who loved him. However, society loves a rock star, and unfortunately, society still adheres to stereotypes. Weiland fit the stereotype incredibly well, according to Mary Forsberg, his ex-wife who wrote a very frank letter to Rolling Stone about the loss of her children’s father. Effectively, Forsberg was saying, “Don’t laud this tragedy,” when she said that the manner of Weiland’s death is likely to occur again.

“At some point, someone needs to step up and point out that yes, this will happen again – because as a society we almost encourage it,” she said of watching rock singers and other artists lead themselves to their own destruction because of reliance on a stereotype.

We as a society expect to hear about rock singers (or other artists, for that matter) who are trashed and enjoy what we view as a “good time” – these men and women, all of whom have families of some shape or creation, who are plied with alcohol or drugs as a way of cutting loose and relaxing. How many times, though, have we heard about these artists checking into rehab? Getting pulled over for a DUI? With Weiland’s death, we are reminded, “Don’t laud this tragedy,” but unfortunately, there are others that occur right in our own backyards.

(By mark sebastian (Flickr: D.U.I. (#33203)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons) (By mark sebastian (Flickr: D.U.I. (#33203)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)The Sun-Sentinel references the common statistic – this one cited by Progressive Insurance – that many motor vehicle accidents occur within five miles of someone’s home. Sometimes, this can be all that encourages someone to drive home while impaired, either by alcohol or drug use. There is a deep set mentality at play, sometimes, that it’s all right to drive after one or two beers, but don’t laud that tragedy in the making as someone being a “good drinker” – a common misconception, particularly in rural areas.

Allan Kerpan of Kenaston, Saskatchewan, Canada, said that mentality seems to be solidly at play even in the 21st century. October 10 of this year marked the one-year anniversary of his daughter Danille’s death at the hands of a drunk driver. Danille was 25. According to CKOM, Saskatchewan has the highest rate of drunk driving deaths in Canada, at 100 per year, which is three times the national average.

“Part of that is that there’s that old boy’s mentality, in rural Saskatchewan at least, where it seems very acceptable to go on a booze cruise,” he said.

Kerpan said he wanted people to think differently about impaired driving, reminding people that most impaired driving accidents occur on Fridays or long weekends. It is easy to celebrate on a Friday or particularly a long weekend, but when something terrible happens like a death, don’t laud tragedy with more alcohol-fuelled celebration.

Some will band together following a tragic loss and have a few drinks in a loved one’s honor, but that may just create heartache in the long run. Don’t laud one tragedy by creating another; according to, people choose to drink and drive for a myriad of reasons, including the suppression of their usual rational behavior, the belief that they are not as impaired as they really are, and embarrassment about needing to be driven home.

However, the tragedy that may result from letting alcohol or drugs govern a person’s decision-making skills can extend to more than just loss of life. Future employment prospects may be dimmed, as employers do not want someone irresponsible working for them; insurance rates are sure to increase, if your insurance company does not drop you altogether, and there will be a significant financial hit for any medical treatment that might occur should there be an accident. Please think; don’t laud a tragedy like the loss of a loved one with an even greater tragedy by becoming so impaired you become a danger.

(Feature image courtesy of Slick-o-bot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)