Saturday, June 16, 2007

Needless, and yet somehow not unexpected

I read this morning about the accident on the Beltway that killed four young women.

From Tom Jackman and Maria Glod at the Washington Post:
And so the defining image of the 2007 graduation season will be a white convertible Volkswagen Cabriolet, upside down, its roof gone, and four young lives gone with it. Two 18-year-old West Potomac graduates and two George Mason University students were killed late Thursday when their car suddenly veered into the path of a tractor-trailer on a ramp from the Capital Beltway.
I checked MySpace and Facebook, thinking that perhaps I could catch a glimpse of the lives of these four women. They didn't have much of a presence online; I was surprised. I did find this picture of Renee Shelkin on her Facebook summary.

I'll let it speak for itself.

There's just something not right. I'm at a loss.


  1. How dare you insinuate personal choice and pre-incident behavior as factors leading up to this tragic accident. Can't you see it was the truck driver's fault for getting in the way of these innocent girls who were just celebrating a milestone. How dare you speak about responsibility!!!

    In all actuality, I agree with you. I wonder where the parents were?

  2. They were all brilliant smart young women Renee was one of the sweetest gentlest people one could ever know. After her death your gonna try and sum it up by a picture? What kind of person are you why must every tragic thing that happens be some ones fault nothing is just an accident anymore. The first thing you could do is look at a picture and point a finger and try and place the blame one something or some one, based off a single moment in time? What if the trucker was killed what would you say he must have been driving to long with out the mandatory rest break? it was his fault? The world if full of unforeseen twists and turns the best thing that WE can do as a world is learn to embrace each other, not tare each other apart during emotional times. people need to stick together and be there for our fellow women and men, Otherwise what do we have a bunch of shit that you cant take with you in the end. Life is all we have at the end of the day. celebrate it, live it to the fullest you only get one and its a lot shorter than you know. Rest In Peace girls you are all loved and missed dearly

  3. Come on- you can't sum up someone's life by a photograph. That is truly ignorant. Obviously, it was an accident. I don't think anyone could blame the truck driver, as he clearly tried to stop and will now have to live with this for the rest of his life. But seriously, you ask "where were the parents?" Did you graduate from high school? College? Anything? You realize these girls were 18, right? When I was 18 I didn't hang out with my parents all the time- did you? Also, just because they found alcohol in the car does not mean that the driver was drinking. Don't jump to conclusions so quickly. I shudder to think at what people would think if we all had to sum up our lives by one random photo. Renee was a sweet girl, with her whole life ahead of her- one that will never be realized because of a stupid accident that seriously could happen to anyone. I have been on the beltway stone cold sober, almost exited wrong, then darted back over, and I've seen many more people do it. There but for the grace of God or circumstance go any of us-

  4. Do you know what your children are doing right now? How about when you graduated, what were you doing?As a friend to Renee, I am here to tell you all the kids are doing it. I think just about everyone in my senior year (2003), well, lets just say at some point in high school and for me even middle school, kids are drinking. You may trust us, you may want to believe us, even kids without the pictures of drinking, are doing it. If they are not drinking they are smoking pot. The area we have grown up in is not sheltered. We are very aware of all that goes on, and you know what screw you. You didn't even know Renee, how can you base her life on a single picture? Who cares if she has a bottle in her hand, she wasn't even driving. Have you driven the spot where the accident occured? Hell it doesn't matter what part of the beltway you are on, stupid drivers are all over and anything could have contributed to this accident. Rest in peace girls. Your memory will live on forever.

  5. It doesn't really matter what people say, because the people that knew Renee know what an amazing person she was and when I look at that picture I see a beautiful woman so full of life and happiness. So yes that picture does say it all, just look at her smile.

  6. Months later, I'm compelled to comment.

    No doubt Renee and these other young women were awesome people, and they were destined to do something great with their lives.

    It is sad that their lives were cut short.

    In many respects, this is a case of "but for the grace of God, there go I."

    Having said that, yes, personal choice and what they were doing before the accident played the penultimate factor in this accident. I'm not attempting to lay blame, but rather to state the obvious, and to cry out that there are bigger issues here. This is an epidemic. Our youth are killing themselves while "celebrating."

    As to the posting here, it's really difficult to take any of it with much seriousness as the comments are anonymous.

    Let's stand up and note this tragedy for what it is: a tragedy.

    Now, what are we going to do to make certain it doesn't happen in June 2008... and 2009... and on and on? This is a call to action; it's not a call to provide excuses. It's a time for us to figure out how to keep our young alive so that they can make something of themselves.

  7. I knew Renee and Jena and Lydia. they were joys and always had a smile on their faces. i dont think u should judge them. all u know that could have been a friends beer. u shouldnt just look at a picture and say that they were bad people. if that were u would u want people to think that u were stuipid and didnt know anything. they were kind people and that is that.