Driving back from Shoreham today in the torrential rain – I found myself being forced to ask the question what is the value of life?

The question itself can be personal; subjective; indicative; emotive and legal to cover but a few arenas.  For example ask a person who has lost a loved one compared to a person who hasn’t.  Ask a person who has had their quality of life reduced through no malfeasance on their behalf as opposed to one who has not.  Ask a lawyer versus a criminal.  In all these environments the question and the answer is surely going to be different and often surprising and sometimes not.  How do you put a price on something that is invaluable and is only there by chance and luck but allows us all to think, process information and react to a variety of stimuli both visually; verbally and physically.

What triggered this thought and fear has been two-fold.  Driving down to Shoreham there was an horrendous accident but as far as I could see all parties were well and there was no impending traffic.  However it still did not prevent a shudder as I perceived a white mini van on the side of the road shunted backwards up the grass verge as a result of this three-way collision.  The very image sent shudders down my spine, catapulting back 6 years when on a pleasant sunday morning I received a telephone call from my mum to stay my father was in an induced coma after an RTA and his chances of survival were around10%.  Thankfully  my father survived and is still alive today but his quality of life has diminished dramatically and he is now showing the full 65 years of age that he is.  He has lost some of his joviality and easiness and love of life, although to be fair this has probably also been exacerbated by the loss of my mother three years ago in December.  Although grateful that my father is still alive and well and with us today the pure frustrations I see in him in his ability or lack thereof to be able to do the tasks that he used to do with ease has altered the value that I put on such a rare commodity.

What further caused an area of concern was driving back and coming up the M23 there was a driver in a Renault Clio, with what appeared initially to be two other passengers, a child (of toddler) age in the rear of the car and an adult in the front passenger seat.  The driver seemed to be in animated conversation with the other adult in the passenger seat and the child was bouncing about and moving freely in the rear of the car.  What made me more fearful of this scenario was that the conversation and I would give the driver some consideration here along with the weather conditions was making the driving a little erratic at times and he was weaving between the lines and his judgment to over take became impaired, jumping into gaps, which were feasible for the driver to accommodate but with little regard to the time. distance and speed of other cars and vehicles around him, causing ourselves to apply our brakes sharply to avoid a collision.  This as I said in itself was bad enough, and to some extent the daily occurrences that you observe whilst driving on motorways.  Having my concern was further raised when we over took the vehicle and in the back of the car with the toddler I noted another adult sat all strapped in.

Hence back to my original question what is the value of a life?  Based on the driving and belief of the people in that Renault Clio the value of their lives is far greater than that of the child they were carrying and to me this is a very disturbing and disconcerting thought.  I wondered if any of the passengers in the car were the parents of the child; or  if they were purely the assigned Guardian.  As a god parent to both my niece and nephew and a step mother to my partners daughter I would be horrified to discover that my children were in that position and that so little regard or value had been placed on their lives.

I then queried to myself would they change the value that they would put on a life if something were to happen and they lost the child as a result of their erratic behaviour – not that I would wish ill on anyone   nor wish any to bury their own child that is something that no parent should ever have to do or experience.  Being the child of a parents who have miscarried children, and whose own grandparents who have had to bury children – then I clearly see the repercussions of these emotions and the scars they can leave on a parent/ grandparent.

My question ultimately was swamped by fear and an urge to scream out to them stop, think and clunk click your child in.  This is the most precious thing in that vehicle as they will live on long after you have gone.  They will take your heritage and history on to the next generation.  I feared for their decision but prayed that they would never have to deal with my fear, or if fate decreed that they should then it would not be at their mindless and thoughtlessness of neglect, for something as minor as getting a child seat fitted to their vehicle.

 

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