This morning, I heard the news that Ryan Dunn had passed away. Now, I had never seen an episode of Jackass or anything else he was on (I did watch the entire first season of Viva La Bam tonight, so that is no longer true), but it is always sad to hear of an innocent person’s death.
Dunn and an unidentified passenger died in a one-car accident on a highway in Pennsylvania at about 3 in the morning (today; 20 June). Many people, including myself, speculate that his death was the result of drunk driving, since he tweeted a picture of himself drinking with friends just hours before the crash.
A lot of people are upset about this speculation, which I understand. They don’t want to imagine that someone they potentially looked up to may have died like that. However, I believe that no matter how it happened, his death is just as tragic.
Sadly, there are a lot of people who don’t seem to feel that way. For example, film critic Roger Ebert tweeted the following: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Essentially, he got what he deserved, and let this be a lesson to you all.
See, that really irks me. Does the fact that intoxication may have contributed to his death make it any less tragic? I don’t think it should. He still died. He’s still gone from this world, he still has friends and family left here without him, and I can’t even imagine what they are feeling right now. So can you hang your holier-than-thou attitude at the door, please?
Fine, make his death a lesson. That’s fine. Go ahead and say, “look what happened to poor old Ryan Dunn because he was driving drunk. Don’t let this happen to you or your friends.” That’s fine.
What’s not fine is implying that he deserved his death in any way, shape, or form. Yes, he drove drunk, although it has not been confirmed by authorities and may not even be true. Yes, he made a bad decision, and yes, it cost him his life. That does not, however, mean that he deserved it.
No one, save the occasional killer, deserves to die, and no one’s death should be trivialized simply because you don’t “approve” of the cause.