A truly sad event occurred in the morning hours of April 25, 2017, when a young man died as the result of an unfortunate vehicular traffic accident. The event has been called “tragic” but we’d like to call it instructive and meaningful. Logan Penzabene’s death on April 25 was not just the loss of a son, a friend, a young man whose life would have been full of promise; it was a wake-up call to every single politician, law enforcement person, and every member of this bereft community and beyond. The roadside memorials will disintegrate, the tears will dry up, the body will be buried but will the problems and failures persist?
Watch what you do; take personal responsibility for things like this!
The media reports that “The tragic crash took place in the midst of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s teen safe driving campaign, and law enforcement babbles, and as Bethlehem Police Commander Adam Hornick babbles, “It’s even more unfortunate that we had this crash urging a campaign like this where we have such a concentrated effort by law enforcement to cut down on incidents like this.” Hornick hopes others will take the crash as a reminder to drive safe on the roads. Don’t we all?
Regardless of what Gov. Mario Cuomo puts out there politically or what Hornick makes as a public statement on behalf of law enforcement, the fact remains, that many reports and complaints have been made to local law enforcement and to the New York State Police regarding the safety of vehicular traffic on Route 144, where this accident occurred, claiming the life of another young person and severely injuring another.
We made a direct complaint to New York State Police at the toll plaza 22 of the New York State Thruway…
In fact, several weeks ago, we made a direct complaint to New York State Police at the toll plaza 22 of the New York State Thruway regarding the very real and present problem of operators, including passenger vehicles and heavy commercial vehicles, running the stop signs at Rt 144. Details were provided to responding State Troopers but to date we have not been able to observe any police presence at the times we reported such activity nor at any other time.
The New York State Police seem to have plenty of money, personnel and time to escort oversized vehicles down Rt 144, even when commericial escort should be available and doing that service, but the NYS Police don’t seem to have time to enforce the vehicular laws of this state. People are endangered, injured and killed as a result. Why is that?
We have repeatedly reported on the careless and dangerous operation of vehicles entering and exiting the Port of Coeymans and adjacent Coeymans Industrial Park properties but we have seen no enforcement action taken at that location. Illegal and dangerous passing by motorists when a slow-moving truck pulls out in front of them. Decoy cars parked unlawfully and dangerously on the roadside but no visible control of the heavy truck traffic. Why is that?
On Aprll 25, 2017, Logan Penzabene was killed when he crossed into the on coming lane of traffic. Why was that? What caused him to migrate into that other lane and strike the oncoming vehicle? Texting, using a phone, horsing around in the car? Didn’t take more than a second and it happened! Where are we, people? In LA-LA Land?
On the one hand we can speak of our unrealistic notion that we are in control of events and that such things are preventable. That’s part of our LA-LA Land arrogance and is somehow believing in magic. Something that is preventable reasonbably leads to the conclusion that if it happened and was not prevented that some mistake was made, and if a mistake was made, someone obviously made it, barring any notion or proof of mechanical failure. In Logan’s case, complete failure of his steering wheel. So if the accident was due to human error, what was it?
Signs pointing in the direction of failure of programs…
While we, as human beings, are blasted into reality when such an event occurs, that reality regrettably lasts only until the memorial shrine disintegrates or a couple of days after the funeral. Then it’s back to business as usual. Here’s the stupid-rule: the more stupidity, more so-called tragedies. But the real tragedy is still the stupidity. The stupidity of educators, parents, law enforcement and policy makers. These events are not just deaths, they are evidence of failures but no one seems to think of these events as signs pointing in the direction of failure of programs. So the so-called tragedies continue.
It’s half-arsed damage control…
Quite frankly, it’s half-arsed damage control when the RCS school district plays the caring and compassionate student-centered educators by announcing that “grief counselors are being made available to students and staff in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school district. This follows the death of RCS grad, Logan Penzabene. He was killed in a car crash Tuesday in Selkirk.” Too little, too late And if RCS Superintendent of Schools Robert Libby sent a letter home with each student in the district informing families about the fatal accident Wednesday, he’s going to have to do a hell of a lot more than just sending students home with letters. But does he have any clue what to do?
Cuomo’ s public announcement of a so-called “teen safe driving campaign” isn’t going to do it. Hornick’s wishful thinking and so-called efforts to cut down on inicidents” like the Penzabene incident isn’t going to come to any fruition. Why? Because they are smoke and mirror shows, empty!
If efforts and programs worked, why is it, as Hornick reports, that “[T]he community has already been through this; the town has,” Hornick said. “This is the second fatal in town in six months.” Second “fatal” but what about the others, the non-fatal ones. If Hornick’s efforts were as colorful as his title, Bethlehem Police Commander, maybe we’d see some change.
In our May 3 article “Enuf already! Freaks and Scofflaws” we reported on a local business vehicle apparently operated by an employee of Eagle Tools in West Coxsackie. That report was provided on the very day of Penzabene’s funeral, on May 3! That truck ran a stop sign, was traveling at a low speed, was crossing over into the oncoming lane numerous times, never used a turn signal. And that’s someone allegedly with a commercial driver’s license!
And what about the rest of you? You’re all just as guilty! Just open your eyes while you’re driving and observe what’s happening around you, and the hazards and dangers being created randomly by your fellow vehicle operators. Better still, just count the hazardous and dangerous habits you have behind the wheel. Precious cargo on board signs merely obstruct visibility even if you were using your rear view mirrors; programs and efforts don’t work unless the community actively commits to the program and actively participates in the efforts.
What are you doing to ensure you don’t get that knock at the door or that telephone call starting,
“I’m afraid I have some bad news…”
It would also help if law enforcement did less talking and responded more proactively to real complaints and reports of vehicular misconduct and careless operation.
Cuomo is a politician and spends most of his time in a very secure environment, most of the time in New York City. We have to live in the community. We have to use the roads. We have to try to stay alive despite the stupidity of those around us. What to we do about stupidity? Well, you could start by being less stupid yourselves.
So forget all the empty “You’re in our prayers” crapola. Forget the roadside memorials. Forget the sentimental expressions of superficial sympathy. Forget Cuomo and his idiotic empty programs. And forget law enforcement efforts that are practically non-existent if we can judge by their response to real complaints and ongoing problems. Do something that is really effective: Mind your manners!
While human compassion blots out reason in the acute moments of such loss, and loss it is in myriad ways, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Logan’s devastated family and friends, we have to look at this event as having an incredible meaning for everyone: Logan’s death has become an icon, an icon that demands that we take responsibility for our own actions and accept accountability. If Logan’s death is to have any meaning at all, it’s up to his young friends, his community, and all of us to be responsible and obey our laws, take our time, be mindful of the moment, and to realize our duties and obligations not only to ourselves but to those around us as well. Period.
Read a Related Article at No Empty Chair at the Dinner Table.
Download the final article from Spirituality & Griefcare: No Empty Chair