Options vs. No Options

From my journal dated November 21, 2002:

Monday night a radio talk show host in Seattle discussed the charges filed in Jason’s and Alina’s accident. He felt that murder charges should be filed against a person who kills another with a vehicle, especially while driving drunk, instead of vehicular homicide charges. Murder charges would probably result in a 20 year range. Vehicular homicide charges will probably result in a 3-5 year range. Quite a disparity!

Would a higher incarceration range for convictions of vehicular homicide be a deterrent for drunk drivers?? I don’t know. Killing someone is killing someone, whether it’s accomplished with a gun or vehicle. I guess I don’t understand the huge difference in sentencing. It’s not like I am out for revenge. I don’t hate this kid. I’m not sure I know what I feel about him.

On the forum discussion page of the Herald.net site, in response to its article printed a few days ago, someone who knew Jason and Alina stated that this drunk driver had no idea how much he’d taken away from so many people.

Then someone who knew the driver’s family wrote about what a nice family they are, how J.H.* has to live with the grief the rest of his life.

I don’t know how someone even begins to deal with taking the life of another person; but, in my opinion, “grief” is the wrong word. “Regret,” maybe. But, grief – no! Not even his mother knows the extent of grief that Marie and I do. No matter how long he spends in jail, she still has her son. He’s still alive! There’s always room for something good to happen for him. He still has options and choices. It’s all up to him what he does with them.

Jason and Alina have none. No options; no choices. They were the ones making good choices with their lives…and now they’re gone. We have a huge loss forever. Nothing can change that. J.H.* killed our precious kids. He may lose some years in jail, but he’ll still be young when he gets out. He can can still make something good of his life.

Options vs. no options. Life vs. death.

I hope he starts making some better choices with his life. We’re paying the price for the choice he made to drive drunk at more than twice the speed limit. He has no idea how much his choice has cost us.

Newspaper Articles on Vehicular Homicide Charges

From my journal dated November 16, 2002:

Marie [Alina’s mom] called me this morning to apologize for how the Seattle Times article was presented. I told her it wasn’t her responsibility…and I meant that in the nicest way. She said someone needed to apologize to us.

It was pretty much what I expected. From the beginning, media focus has been on the Christianson’s tragedy, the fact that Brian was at the scene, and that they lost a son in a car accident eleven years ago. If they mention Jason, they don’t even refer to him by his first name. He’s mentioned as “Carney,” the “driver” of the car, or “Alina’s friend.” It’s hard not to feel that Jason and the tragedy of his death has been either overshadowed or completely disappeared.

Today’s Herald article was similar. They make it sound like the accident was Jason’s fault!

I know it’s a huge tragedy for the Christiansons! There’s no doubt about it! But, don’t they realize that Jason’s death is such a huge tragedy, too? It has shattered our lives. Our lives – and we, right along with them – will never be the same.

Oh, my precious boy! I miss you!!! How can you be gone??

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Resources:

Seattle Times article