Lesson Learned: What the Death of Ryan Dunn Taught Us

25 Jun

In case you have not yet heard, Ryan Dunn, star of Jackass and Viva La Bam, among other classic MTV offerings, died very early last Monday morning when he crashed his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 in Pennsylvania. The passenger in his car, Zachary Hartwell, also died. The accident happened after a night of drinking by Dunn and friends at a local bar, and many are placing the blame for the accident on Dunn’s reputation as a daredevil with a disregard for self-respect or for the lives of others.

Many of the comments I heard about Dunn’s death are extremely self-serving and opportunist. There’s quite a bit of talk of how he “wasted” his entire life only to selfishly take someone down with him.  I cannot agree with this sentiment. Dunn made a living having fun with his friends, and I am quite sure that many of the young people who have decried his death probably watched Jackass a time or two.  Additionally, the fact tat Dunn’s passenger also died presents multiple issues regarding responsibility.  The passenger chose to get in the car with a driver who drank.  The likelihood of some sort of lawsuit emerging from this horrible, fiery car crash is inevitable. However, the truth is that Dunn’s demise is the fate of quite a bit of young people who disregard laws about drinking and driving.

A post on TheDirty.com (I cannot believe I am referring to that site) has a poster proclaim, “Ryan Dunn deserved to die”. Really? Does anyone ever “deserve” to die? I cannot say that I have ever thought someone “deserved” to die. I do recall a student I knew in college who was quite mean to me. He ended up dying in a horrible electrocution accident on a film set just a few months later. I remember telling my boyfriend at the time what had happened, and his only response was, “karma is a bitch.” Shocked at this statement and touched by my Catholic guilt, I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and lit a candle for the poor boy. Surely he did not deserve to die.

So what did we learn from Ryan Dunn’s death? Do not drink and drive – a lesson that people should know by now but sadly have not. Do not get in a car with a friend who’s been drinking. Stop them from driving. Do not drive your Porsche 130 mph on a winding road – this could surely be a mistake for anyone, sober or not.

Perhaps the most startling thing about Dunn’s death – for me, at least – is the very young age at which he died. I am always put off by hearing stories of the young dying, especially those with loved ones and friends who will live decades after their friend.  A television interview with Bam Margera at the site of the crash showed the true pain of a young death – a grown man crying profusely at the loss of his best friend, weak and defeated.  My discomfort at seeing Margera cry in turn caused me to cry. Margera will now live without his best friend – someone he considered his brother.  This is what people should consider when recalling Dunn’s demise. Through actions he chose, he left behind those who love him.

What can you do to prevent accidents like the one that killed Ryan Dunn? Make safe driving arrangements on a night of drinking. For those living in the Colorado Springs area, I recommend using the services of No DUI Colorado Springs. This is a FREE service offered at the most popular bars in Colorado Springs. Some of the bars they service are Copperhead Road, The Hatch Cover, The Mansion, Meadow Muffins, Phantom Canyon, Tony’s and Dublin House. You can visit their website at www.noduicosprings.com.

2 Responses to “Lesson Learned: What the Death of Ryan Dunn Taught Us”

  1. Valerie Marulli July 1, 2011 at 12:45 PM #

    Good blog about the consequences of drinking and driving, too bad, know one

    stopped these guys. but excellent advise you gave about the no DUI program.

    Stay safe everyone and a have a Happy 4th.



    • fixedair July 1, 2011 at 3:59 PM #

      Mom, if you had read my previous post, you would not be using the phrase “know one”. It’s “no one”.

      Thanks and bye.

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