Most of us have seen a traffic accident—but a head-on collision involving a group of teenagers—that has to be a horror.
Even for paramedics and Highway Patrol officers who deal with tragedy every day.
These were just kids and some of them were dead. The teens who could talk were questioned about breaking the law and carted off to jail; the injured were taken to the local hospital.
And the ones who didn’t make it were taken to the mortuary.
My heart is racing just writing about this. Yet there was no accident — it was all staged.
It’s a program put on every two years by Fallbrook High School. It’s called “Every 15 Minutes” to encourage teens to make good choices in their lives. The name came about because every 15 minutes someone dies on America’s highways. The number has risen since the program began.
The agenda brings up issues of alcohol and drug use, reckless behavior, and the loss of life.
After the accident those who died had their faces painted and roamed the school campus like the “walking dead,” speaking to no one.
Later everyone was taken to a special place for an over nighter. They talked about the accident, how they felt, what if they had died, what they would want to say.
They wrote goodbye letters to their families; a last chance to say what was in their hearts.
At school the next day the juniors and seniors saw a video of the accident; their parents were there, and at the police station, and the hospital. They saw death certificates the kids had made at their homes.
It was shocking, yet some had seen this before so they weren’t all that impressed.
But when their friends that “died” started reading those goodbye letters all choked up, things started to settle down—no movement, no clearing of the throat, no whispering—it was like the Grim Reaper had a special invitation.
John Buchanan is the public information officer for North County Fire Protection District. When asked why he thought this program is so important his answer was swift:
“Because the roadways in this area are treacherous with little room for error and teenagers think they are invincible.”
I would like to add something:
A couple of weeks ago Mike was really excited; he had just bought his first motorcycle, a 1998 Honda.
He went to dinner to celebrate with lifelong friend John, and wife Leann.
Although he was wearing a helmet, 21-year-old Mike later died at the hospital.
The names aren’t real, but the people and the accident are. John is my close friend’s son.
I wonder what Mike would have written in his “goodbye letter.”
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full
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