Another celebrity committed suicide. Precisely how disturbed should I be?
Any death is a tragedy, and the loss of a healthy, forty year old with a sweet fifteen year old daughter would normally tug at my heart. A well loved celebrity who was involved in charities, the distributor of his latest film has decided to make a donation to his favorite charity for every copy of the DVD purchased. Not that they’re exploiting his death to sell more DVDs, or that there is any irony that the charity supports emergency responders who travel to natural disasters, ignoring the fact that first responders are needed wherever wealthy film stars choose to drive race cars on public streets. I might have suggested a charity devoted to safe driving, but that might have hurt DVD sales, suggesting there might be consequences for driving fast and furious.
That’s a very pretty car. Certainly worth the nearly half million dollar price tag. The rear spoiler adjusts automatically based on speed. The body and chassis are made of carbon fiber, keeping the weight under three thousand pounds. The 5.5 liter V-10 engine produces five hundred fifty eight horsepower. It’s rated with a top track speed of over 205 mph, and can go from zero to sixty in under four seconds, zero to one twenty five in ten seconds.
The precise speed the car was traveling when it hit the concrete lamp post above has yet to be determined. This “track” was obviously not designed for vehicles traveling in excess of 205 mph. In fact, in this view from the other side of the impact area, travel at such velocity was unexpected.
Most of the photographs you have seen are from the other side, with the forms of the bodies melted into the wreckage. The injuries sustained were so severe that dental records were required to determine who was driving. It has been determined that the driver died on impact, when the leather-covered telescoping three-spoke steering wheel crushed his internal organs. The pasanger survived impact, but succumbed to “thermal injuries” before first responders could reach him. You’ve seen the video, no more graphic description is required.
Or perhaps a more graphic description is exactly what is required. Mourners have attended the crash site in their muscle cars by the thousands, grieving the loss of their idol in this “tragic accident”. Images with his smiling face quoting him saying “If one day the speed kills me, don’t be sad, because I was smiling” are distributed. He wasn’t smiling. He burned alive, doused in the twenty four gallons of gasoline required for a nine mpg vehicle, trapped in the mangled remains of a automobile that cost more than most of his fans earn in a decade. He is not a tragic hero, he is an idiot who placed his life, along with the lives of anyone in his path, in danger. Both he and the driver had attended the Bondurant school of driving, where one of the first lessons is “Don’t try this at home”.
The word “accident” infers lack of intention or expectation. Both passengers were well aware of the operation of the vehicle, and the conditions of the roadway. This was not an accident. This was suicide. We can only be thankful that it wasn’t also a murder.