When I was a kid, I liked to drive fast. Going down the very flat and very straight gravel roads in rural Kansas at 80 miles an hour wasn’t unusual. I survived several grisly wrecks and totaled several cars for which I would mortgage my home today. My bills for straight liability insurance were utterly outrageous until I was nearly 30.
It never once occurred to me as I was speeding down those country roads that through my carelessness, I might kill myself or others. It never once entered my mind that my victims would have parents, grandparents, children and friends who loved them and who would have experienced unimaginable devastation caused by a thrill-seeking, careless and selfish teenager. I was at the time, the prime statistic for dying in a car wreck or killing someone else in one (16-year-old male in a fast, 3,750-pound muscle car).
I’m grateful to this day that no such tragedy ever happened to me. It turns out I really was bulletproof — or just lucky. My multiple automobile accidents in high school never resulted in a serious injury to anyone.
I got a lot smarter once I started borrowing money to go to college. And, I lost my bulletproofness years ago.
Today, I’m one of those people the Center for Disease Control (CDC) calls “at-risk” of dying if I contract the COVID-19 virus. I’m older than 60, and I’m a diabetic.
Consequently, I was dismayed when Spring Break bulletproof partier, Bradley Sluder, in a Reuter’s report, declared: “If I get corona, I get corona. I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.” After Mr. Sluder’s amazingly arrogant remarks went viral over the Internet, he apologized, in what I can only guess was a statement prepared by someone smarter than he is. Perhaps he has at least learned not to consent to press interviews when he’s had too much to drink. I’ll bet not.
Miami’s beaches were crowded with thousands of similarly arrogant “partiers.” Crowds ignored COVID-19 warnings in other popular Spring Break party spots like South Padre Island, Texas, Daytona Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Some Spring Break activities were cancelled — but only after crowds were featured in the national news and viral Internet shaming.
So we all sit quietly in our self-quarantined homes. We watch our neighbors’ businesses go under. We struggle to find a way to replace lost income. We watch our state coffers ravaged from a lack of sales tax revenues. We watch our retirements reduced almost daily.
Meanwhile, the thousands of bulletproof college students who descended on these communities have begun to infect their friends, their parents, their grandparents and everyone with whom they had selfish contact during their ritual celebration of their parents’ wealth and excess.
Spring Break was designed to generate income for beach communities in Texas, California and Florida – in much the same way today’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is designed to generate income in South Dakota’s Black Hills. There are differences. Bikers pay their own way. College students use mommy’s money. Six weeks from now, unfortunately, we may all be paying for their party.
It should come as no surprise to anyone, especially Democrats, that folks in the geographical middle of the country are not eager to forgive those idiots their student loans or to provide them with tuition-free college. They obviously are too stupid to be in college in the first place.
Michael Sanborn writes from Rapid City.
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