This was certainly not the premiere post I was planning on for this site. I had a great post scheduled for today, and I decided to go a different direction because of a recent news story that came out. If you have been following any news in Iowa these past 5 weeks, you have most likely heard the name Benjamin Beary. Benjamin was the 25 year old man from Knoxville, Iowa that killed two Des Moines police officers (Carlos Puente-Morales and Susan Farrell) and their transport, Tosha Hyatt, when his vehicle was traveling the wrong direction on Interstate 80 struck the police vehicle head-on. All the individuals, including Beary, were killed instantly. The most recent news story released details of the accident that most people following along probably suspected. Beary was not only traveling at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hours, he was also intoxicated. His blood alcohol level was almost three times the legal limit, and it was also confirmed that he had recently used marijuana.
So here it is. My open letter to the family of Benjamin Beary.
Dear Beary Family,
I would like to express my sincere condolences for the loss of your son, Benjamin. Regardless of the circumstances, you are grieving the loss of your child. I cannot even imagine what that must feel like. I have been following the story faithfully since the accident first happened, because not only did it happen within just a few miles of my home, but it is a portion of the interstate I drive on every single day of my life. Every day I drive by and see the crosses and the flags, the flowers and the balloons that mark the spot of that horrific tragedy and I quickly say a prayer for all four of the accident victims. Every single day.
I recently read in your family’s statement to the press that you hoped a different reason would have been found to explain what happened, and my heart hurts for you. It hurts knowing that different decisions could have been made by not only your son, but whoever he was with before the accident, as well as the business he was a patron at that evening.
My heart hurts as a Mother, because while I didn’t know your child personally, I know that no child (even a grown child) would ever do this on purpose. No one would intentionally make the choice to end innocent lives this way. Please know that while society as a whole might be angry, we all understand that in the end, it was an accident.
I don’t hate your son. I don’t place blame on your family. If I saw you in person, I would hug you and tell that I am sorry. That I am just terribly sorry that any of this happened.
I hope that out of all this, we can force something good to happen because of this tragedy. We can all make Benjamin’s life, as well as the lives of the other three victims, MATTER. Something good can and will come out of this.
I hope that everyone who has been following this story, and everyone who will learn of it in the future, looks at themselves in the mirror and realizes… it could have been any single one of us. More importantly, it could have been one of our kids.
Plenty of us have been guilty at some point in our lives of getting behind the wheel of a car after we’ve been drinking, whether it’s only one drink, or two, or six. We justify it by thinking we haven’t had that much, or we really don’t have that far to drive, or we’ve done this plenty of times and have gotten home just fine.
Almost all of us have been guilty of seeing someone at a restaurant or at a bar or even at a party at a friend’s house that has maybe had a few too many drinks, but we let them walk out the door anyway, keys in hand. We don’t always want to get involved, we don’t like confrontation, it’s just none of our business.
Beary family, I hope that because of Benjamin, we will all remember to think twice should we ever be in those situations again. And then after we think twice, we should go ahead and think a third time. Just because.
I hope that because of Benjamin, we all take the time to sit down with our kids and discuss what choices should have or could have been made differently.
I hope that because of Benjamin, people will talk to their kids and let them know that they need to take your advice to make a plan before the drinking starts.
I hope that because of Benjamin, people are reminded of what can happen because of ONE wrong decision, and that there are no do-overs in situations like this.
I hope that because of Benjamin, it opens the doors of communication among the friends that he was with that night.
I hope that because of Benjamin, bar owners discuss with their employees the need to say WHEN to patrons and when enough is enough.
I hope that because of Benjamin, all of us will THINK about what we can all do to make sure this never happens again.
Jenni – SincerelyIowa.com