we still build in this country bars with parking lots, which is one hell of a mixed message to send to people.

Ryan Dunn should not be dead.

His death – and that of Zachary Hartwell – was an entirely preventable death. Last Sunday evening, Dunn went out drinking. He drank, posted a photo to his Twitter of himself drinking, and then drove his Porsche 911 GT3 into a tree at an apparently high speed. By the time emergency responders arrived, the car was on fire and he and Hartwell were both dead.

Roger Ebert, movie reviewer turned cancer survivor, and lately social media firebrand, tweeted “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Dunn had been a member of MTV’s Jackass cast. As far as I can tell, Jackass was a show with no redeeming qualities what-so-ever where the whole point was self destruction and humiliation, but three movies got made based on it, so clearly these are qualities we value here in America. Ebert’s tweet caused some anger, and you can read the full account of the situation on Ebert’s blog.

I quite honestly do not understand why Roger Ebert is taking so much flak for the suggestion that Dunn drank and drove.

Roger Ebert did not cause Ryan Dunn to drink alcohol. Roger Ebert did not allow Ryan Dunn to drive away from the bar. Roger Ebert did not accelerate Ryan Dunn’s car into a tree.

I don’t think the people flaming rage at Ebert are actually angry with Ebert, although they might think they are. I think they’re really very upset with Ryan Dunn, and Ebert has quite conveniently given them a target that is not their dead friend or hero or whatever he was to them. It doesn’t change the fact that maybe if Dunn had a little more of his senses with him, or if someone had stopped him from getting into his car, or if he’d chosen to drink at home, that he would most likely still be alive.

Ryan Dunn and Zachary Hartwell should both be alive today. Don’t let your friends drive drunk, or for that matter, buzzed.

4 thoughts on “we still build in this country bars with parking lots, which is one hell of a mixed message to send to people.

  1. This is not an argument about who is right. Ryan Dunn should not have been drinking and driving. I don’t think that anyone would disagree.

    This is about what is the kind, sensitive, human reaction to this kind of news. Death is tragic. Ryan Dunn’s family and friends were just beginning to process their grief when Roger Ebert sent the Tweet.

    Is Ebert correct in his sentiment? Sure. Drinking and driving is dumb.

    Is he compassionate? Not by a long shot.

  2. Is it uncompassionate to not feel particularly sorry tha a man who did a very stupid thing died a very stupid death? I might argue that it is, in fact, an act of compassion to speak out a out the ills and dangers or drinking and driving to encourage others not to do the same stupid thing Ryan Dunn did and died of.

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