CRAIG - FATHER & GRANDPA
For some time now I have wanted, so much, to find a reason for Shawn's death. I have searched diligently the words of wise, spiritual men in order to find that reason. And I have come up wanting. The reality of this is-that it is nothing more than a tragedy; a horrible tragedy at best. And it is a terrible waste of the lives of our son and granddaughter.
In my search for an explanation, I was drawn to find someone to blame; someone who should and could take responsibility for their deaths; someone who could stop this from happening again. First on this list is Mr. Vasquez. I have never had feelings of hate for him-only of empathy. But he must and will shoulder the greatest portion of the responsibility of this act. Following right behind him in the second position is the person who taught him how to drink. That person who should have also taught him how to drink and not drive. What comes into my mind is a vivid recollection of my father teaching me how to hold a gun to avoid accidentally shooting someone. I remember him showing me, then watching and correcting me when I didn't hold it properly or if I was forgetful.
Third in line is society. You can throw in politicians, busniessmen, and all of us who casually stand by and watch this happen. We earn a spot on this list for allowing so much death related to alcholic consumption without moving responsibly to curtail the massacre that occurs on our highways and in our homes. Alcohol related deaths on our highways alone claim annually more than double the lives taken during the Korean War and triple that of the Vietnam conflict. Where are those that so vigourously campaigned against the end of those wars as we consider the onslaught on our highways caused by the "freedom to drink"? We should be appalled by the carnage. It is negligence and hypocrisy of the highest order!
And oh, what negligence there is. To legally drive a motorcycle in this state, an individual must first pass a written test and then a skills test. You cannot obtain a motorcycle endorsement without doing so. In Idaho , to take a gun to the fields to hunt, a young man or young woman must first attend and pass a class on hunter safety. By state regulations, a licensed adult must accompany him in the field until he is of age. But, then what do we do to "cover" our responsibility with alcohol? We smugly feel that we are addressing the problem by requiring those who make and sell the stuff to "fix" the problem with some measly, self-centered ad campaign where they tout the slogan "Drink Responsibly". What an oxymoron that is.
"I do not know when my sorrow will subside, it seems impenetrable."
So that you may have some understanding regarding our loss, let me tell you a little about Shawn. Shawn had an engaging smile and a charismatic personality that would draw you close so that you could see the goodness and love he had to share with you. And with everyone he met, he made a new friend. I do not know of anyone who did not like him. Over 1600 people attended his funeral: they had to stand in the halls after filling up the chapel, the overflow, gym, stage, and all adjacent rooms. Those that knew Shawn intimately knew of his love of people and how much he cared for others. He had a deep devotion for God and Christ. He was a superb pianist and singer. He loved athletics and was a devoted husband and father. He had recently made a firm decision to become a counselor after a number of years of searching and discovery.
We have a picture of Shawn when he was smaller, together with his siblings and grandmother in a swimming pool at the hotel my mother would stay at when she would come to town. He is standing on the steps of the pool with his thump up and with an attitude. That picture describes Shawn. He learned to ride a bicycle at the same time his older sisters did, even though he was only four. He would place his foot on one pedal, ride it down to the bottom, jump up on the seat, place his foot on the other pedal and ride it down. On Sundays at our house, frequently the furniture got pushed back for some impromptu dancing by our girls. Shawn, not wanting to miss th excitement, would join in and learn the moves. He's always been one to join in when there's dancing to be done. Singing with the choir was one of his favorite activities. He loved the feel, emotionally, of music. And he often used music to teach us all spiritual values. We will miss hearing him sing during Christams and at weddings and funerals. We will miss his performances both on and off the stage.
You work hard as a parten to raise children that will be contributors to society; children that will bring joy to life and love to many. It hurts deeply to see such a man as Shawn taken in such a brutal and harsh manner. I do not know when my sorrow will subside; it seems impenetrable at times.
I do not know how one might measure the worth of a life, but I know that its worth is precious if not priceless. I know that when there is irresponsiblity and gross negligence in causing the death of another, the law requires punishment. But, it is hard for me to imagine that Shawn would want more tragedy and additional heartache to come from that which caused his death. I believe he would want Mr. Vasquez to be able to attend to the needs of his family. To be able to provide for them, teach them, watch them grow and be full-time father for them. I belive he would want mercy more than judgement.