Paul Walker’s death and the potential tragedy

Paul Walker's deathIt is sad that Paul Walker and his friend died – I don’t really know much about him.. However, this accident is the result of driving recklessly on city streets. We are all lucky that some innocent bystanders were not killed or injured. I don’t consider such events a tragedy because they are somewhat predicable and caused by the individuals involved – his friend in this case.

There is a potential tragedy here. It is that the focus of the death will be Mr. Walker and his friend – and not what they were doing prior to the accident.

I witness, as we all do, people who speed, weaving in and out of traffic, obviously thinking NOTHING about those around them. Typically, but not always, it is young men. Speeding is thoughtless and selfish! I am fortunate that my father did NOT and hounded me early on about it’s foolishness and selfishness. He actually related it to me in physics terminology and used a phrase that I still use.

“Don’t be stupid on someone else’s dime!”

You are allowed to be as stupid as you want in life.. If you wish to do drugs, great, lock yourself in your home – do drugs, drink, whatever. Just don’t get behind the wheel.

And you can drive fast if you want. Just do it on a closed track – pay to be foolish where you DO NOT put others at risk.. that is NOT your call! It’s selfish! Be stupid on your own dime.

My hope that the news can spin this properly to be a wake up call, rather than a senseless tragedy. A senseless tragedy is when a drunk driver runs a light and kills some family on their way home. My fear is that Hollywood will focus on what a great guy Mr. Walker and his friend were.. I mean, they were leaving a charity event after all.

But don’t leave out that they were speeding on city streets, in the middle of the day, putting others at senseless risk! The tragedy would be to obscure THAT important fact.

I remember taking my daughter to Driver’s Edge in Phoenix and them asking everyone to rate themselves as a driver. Side note: if you get a chance to take your child to Driver’s Edge, DO IT!!! 

Guys tend to rate themselves as 8, 9, or 10’s – I KNOW I DID. How arrogant of me!

These professional drivers, who train race car drivers, rate themselves as 7-10 – very few would admit to believing they are a 10. In fact, none of them did. Some of the trainers suggested that there was one person on their staff that they considered a 10 rated driver.

We (the general public) aren’t even close. As with any activity, being a “great driver” requires practice in the most extreme conditions. If these professionals are 7-10, most of us are lucky to break the 5, 6 mark – and that is being generous! If you are a member of the general public and rate yourself as a 7+ driver, you are just arrogant!

Consider playing 1-on-1 basketball with Lebron James or Kobe Bryant. You wouldn’t score a single point if they chose to NOT let you. That is how we – the general public – rank as drivers compared to a professional who trains. They have both a natural physical giftedness and intense training.. we don’t. Don’t be foolishly arrogant about how well you drive.

Owning a really fast car – and driving it fast several times a week – without training and NOT on a closed track makes you an ass, not a good driver.

As the Driver’s Edge trainers pointed out, being a good driver is NOT about how well you drive when everything goes right, it’s about what you are able to do when everything goes wrong!

It is sad whenever anyone dies.. actor or not. However, don’t mistake this as an untimely tragedy. It was the bi-product of foolishness and selfishness. That message MUST get through if Mr. Walker and his friend’s death are to count for something! If that message is lost, that would be tragic!