Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Two Sad Tales

I've just received two disturbing e-mails. One is about a guy I used to know who's been arrested for murdering an elderly couple in the Bay Area. At least, I suspect it's the same guy I used to know, although I hope it isn't, or that, if it is, he's innocent. I admit that I knew him a long, long time ago and that people can change a lot over time or not be what you think they are in the first place. But I can't imagine the guy I used to know doing what this man is accused of.

The second e-mail tells the profoundly disturbing story of a young woman named Jacqui Saburido who came here from Venezuela when she was nineteen to study English and was hit in her vehicle by a drunken teen driver and burned horribly. She lived, but this once vibrant and gorgeous young woman has been mutilated almost beyond comprehension, and I feel such deep sadness for her and such anger and even hatred for the young man who did it to her.

By all accounts, he too is suffering for his deed not only because he's serving time for it in prison, but also because he feels deep remorse for the suffering he inflicted on Jacqui and for the deaths of two of her friends who were in the vehicle with her. But is that suffering enough?

The fact of the matter is that there but for the grace of God go many of us who have had a few drinks and then gotten behind the wheel and driven away. I've been pretty good about this, but only because I have the ability to know when I've had too much to drink to be able to drive safely. Alcohol seems to rob some people of this ability to monitor and assess themselves.

I can't imagine being Jacqui or the young man responsible for her awful plight. But I pray that no one else has to stand in either of their shoes ever again, although I know that my prayer will not be answered.

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