Death is not abstract |

Death is not abstract

Many people believe we are callous about death because of the vivid front page photo we ran last Friday of the accident scene where three Slovakian women were killed on Highway 9.

Many think we used the picture to sell more papers, which is not possible for a free paper. But we understand the point.

The picture was probably such a shocker because our usual front page fare is much softer.

In fact, we are truly sorry for the loss of life, and we hope the picture jars people into better safety practices on our roads. We also hope law enforcement and the Colorado Department of Transportation take a look at the dangerous race course that is Highway 9 from about Ute Pass Road in Summit County to the curves going into Kremmling.

We know what it’s like to be passed on that road by vehicles and big trucks when we are already going 65-70 mph. But we can’t expect government to solve all our problems. Individual responsibility comes first.

At the basic level, that means driving at reasonable speeds, not too fast, and not too slow. Use of turn signals is a requirement for turns and passing, not a suggestion. Use of seat belts and rearview mirrors saves lives.

Good tires, especially in winter, effective windshield wipers and wearing glasses when you should are part of this package of responsibilities.

Death is not abstract, it is real. It is ugly and brutal. It affects families and friends. But in today’s world, it is easy to become immune to death.

For those greatly appalled by the picture, we hope you spread your message about the sanctity of life far and wide in other forums. The concerns are many with the images presented today in the movies, video games, TV shows and newscasts.

Remember, the soldiers dying in Iraq as we speak are being brutalized with horrible wounds nobody wants to see. But the death is real. It is not abstract.

As County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom pointed out in his column Thursday, about as many people die annually on our roads as died in the whole Vietnam War.

That’s not an abstract thought. The proof was presented to us last week when the three women died, followed the next day by a grandfather in a separate fatal accident.

Individuals can make a difference, even if it’s only clicking a seat belt and demanding it of passengers. For those offended by the picture, we apologize for the image. We still believe a larger purpose was served by using it.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard, Shauna Farnell and Martha Lunsky.

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