There was a time - many years ago - when the stupidity of our fellow man would amaze me. Those days are long, long gone. Now I simply smile a bemused grin and recognize that all men are indeed created equal - some are just a bit more stupid than others.
Thirty-one year old Walter Rivers is a car thief. Granted, he's probably a lot of other things as well but, for the purpose of this column, we'll just focus on his criminal activities. Rivers stole one car too many and it finally caught up with him Sunday morning on Missouri 23 near Knob Noster.
Police pulled Rivers over at 5 a.m. when they noticed that the truck he was driving had been reported stolen earlier this month. Rivers had two youngsters ages 12 and 13 as passengers. When stopped, Rivers first tried to run over the arresting officer. When that didn't work, he drove the stolen truck at speeds of up to 100 mph fleeing from police. He crested a hill just outside of town. It would be the last hill for Rivers. And tragically, his two young passengers.
The three were killed when Rivers lost control of the stolen vehicle. Police later found 10 stolen credit cards in the pickup. They also learned that Rivers had two earlier convictions for stealing cars.
But here's where my amazement starts. The only relative police could find quickly blasted the police for chasing the stolen truck. If they had simply left him alone, the three would still be alive, the relative told police.
So there you have it. A convicted car thief and two young kids in his newly-
stolen vehicle first tries to run over a cop and then tries to escape. He loses control and is killed. And the only comment from relatives is to blame police for the chase.
Does anyone wonder why or how these two kids ended up in a car with this thief at 5 a.m.? Where were the parents? The list is endless.
These three deaths are tragic by any definition. But instead of blaming police, when does the reality strike that perhaps Rivers and his companions were up to something bad. And maybe the blame should be addressed toward this career criminal and not toward police.
Until we as a society quit pointing fingers and instead look in the mirror, we will remain on a path toward societal destruction.