What is it going to take?
August 15, 2002
“What is it going to take?”
The question haunts Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Patrick McGill and anyone else who must deal with the aftermath of a senseless, fatal traffic accident like the one Tuesday in which a Silver Springs girl died and eight other children were injured.
As McGill noted solemnly, the precautions are so simple: Everybody in a seat belt. Nobody in the bed of a pickup truck.
More insidious, the driver, 31-year-old Kimberly Kautz, is accused of driving under the influence — nine counts, one for each of the children whose care had been entrusted to her. Most of the children are cousins.
We don’t have the answer to Trooper McGill’s question, but we share his anguish. While it seems Nevada’s laws on riding in the back of a pickup could use some clarification, there’s no way to legislate common sense.
Hardly a day passes when we don’t hear of some unthinkable lapse — a 4-year-old disappears from a park in Los Angeles, a grandfather in Philadelphia forgets a toddler in the back seat of his car for eight hours — that leaves a child exposed to danger. Sometimes they survive; too often they don’t
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We have railed against the predators in our society and begged parents to take precautions against them. But there is a time, too, to rail against the negligent and the ignorant, who also put children in harm’s way.
Nine children in a pickup truck driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol fits the definition of both negligent and ignorant.
“I just want to scream,” McGill told a reporter.
Scream, yes. And then cry.
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