Getting Your Driver’s License

One of the rites of passage for most people is when they finally get their driver’s license. The absolute sense of freedom that it provides is empowering to a teenager. I had to wait a bit to get mine. I didn’t take driver’s ed until I was 17. However, a lot of kids took the courses and passed the tests as soon as they could after their 16th birthday.

It was one girl’s 16th birthday yesterday, and most likely she’d be going to one of the city’s DPS offices after school today, waiting for a stern-faced instructor to come to her vehicle. She’d be nervous, but she’d get through the parallel parking section just fine. She’d slow down too much on a right-hand turn and have a few points deducted for that, but she’d pass.

Her parents would be a bit relieved, since they’d no longer have to drive her everywhere, but she wouldn’t exactly get the car of her dreams, but she’d get a car.

Of course, none of that happened, because 15 years ago today, a right-wing, government hating extremist parked a rental truck full of a fertilizer bomb in front of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City.  Baylee Allmon had celebrated her first birthday just the day before.

Her death is a reminder that when we have a soapbox that spouts talk of “State’s Rights”, “Secession”, “Resistance to the Government”, and “Armed Militias” (in OKLAHOMA CITY of all places), that people are listening and deciding to act. The internet has made what many would consider fringe opinions much more widely available, and that only adds fuel to the fire. Or bomb, as it may be.

I don’t have a solution to hate. I don’t have a solution to fear. The only real solution is education, community, understanding, and trying to reach out to that which you are not. Insularity, close-mindedness, and repetitive brainwashing of the same ideas over and over again leads us to dangerous ground.