Post # 1
One of my closest high school friends has been dating this guy on and off again for about six years. Some of it stems from him being flakey, but most recently the reason is because he’s made what he calls “an awful mistake”. In 2011, he made the choice to drive drunk and ended up in a car accident that killed his passanger, and one of his closest friends. In 2013 he was sentanced to two years in jail for the accident, and he is about to come up for parole after one year behind bars.
Now his girlfriend is really excited. She keeps talking about how much she misses him and how she just knows he’s going to get parole and how she can’t wait to have a party for him, ect, ect, ect. She’s already planning out this giant party for him. She claims that one night mistake doesn’t make someone be a bad person, and that we shouldn’t judge him too hard for drunk driving.
I can’t get over it. He’s a murderer in my eyes, and everytime I even think about hanging out with him, I’m going to think about the fact he killed our friend, and all he did was a few months behind bars. Sure it was an accident by definition, except he made the choice to drink. He was severely over the limit, he chose to get behind the wheel so they could leave a house party and go to a bar instead, and his choices ultimatlly led to the death of a friend. And I don’t think he’s worth giving time of day to. I also hate the way he explains it as an “awful mistake”. That bothers me a lot. My friend is hurt that I don’t want to have anything to do with her boyfriend, and don’t want to spend time with him if he gets released this year or next.
So if you were in my shoes, or the shoes of someone who lost a friend to a drunk driver that you knew, would you be able to be friends with them? Am I being irrational by not being able to look past this, as my friend says? I don’t care she’s decided to stay with him, that’s not my place. I am in control of my own actions towards him, and I feel like I am chosing the right side by deciding that I don’t want to be friends or friendly with someone who murdered another person.
Post # 2
DelilahDiamond: I think there’s a big difference between killing by drunk driving, and murder. One is horribly irresponsible, but the other is plain evil. If the person was very sorry over what they did, I think I’d mainly feel sort of sorry for them. (EDIT: but if he dismisses it as an “awful mistake”, maybe he’s not as sorry as he should be). I don’t know if I’d want to be their friend though. While I’m uncomfortable with you calling him a murderer, I can’t fault you for not wanting to be his friend. One of the prices he pays is many people don’t want to know him anymore.
But throwing a party for him is in really, really bad taste in my opinion. No way would I attend that.
Post # 3
DelilahDiamond: Hmm…I think that if you dont’ feel you can forgive this person for the mistake he made (and I do think it’s fair to call it a mistake – it was a horribly bad judgement call that ended tragically) then you shouldn’t fake it.
If this were me I’d be likely to look at the larger situation to decide how I feel. For example, are you friends with/do you hang out with other people who drive when they are clearly drunk? Did this person make a habbit of driving drunk or did it just happen this one time? What was the status of the passenger – why did he make the personal choice to get in a car with a drunk person?
In my opinion, I wouldn’t associate with a person who drives when clearly drunk in the first place, (I think that’s different than blowing over hte limit – esp because the limit is 0.05 in my area) whether they had killed someone or not. I am not interested in being friends with people who are calous and neglegent.
I think that mistakes and bad judgement calls happen in life. I’ve certainly made poor calls in a vareity of ways before (such as a stupid move when driving, or whatever) but I’ve been fortunate not to have awful consequences.
Post # 4
@cbgg: “why did he make the personal choice to get in a car with a drunk person”
This. I don’t think I can exactly consider someone a murder victim if they agreed to play Russian Roulette.
I think the party is in poor taste, and you could tell your friend that. It’s weird to celebrate someone getting out of jail for killing a friend that you and, I imagine, some of the other friends she’d like to invite knew.
The fact of the matter is, this guy and your late mutual friend both made awful mistakes. I don’t see what’s wrong with the wording, but maybe it’s the way he says it. A mistake is something you regret. I’m sure he regrets killing his friend, and would take it back if he could. Some people commit suicide over something like this, and I think it’s good that he hasn’t. Maybe he should serve more time for his role in your friend’s death, but the fact is, he has paid for it at least a little bit. And maybe he plans to continue paying for it in other ways for the rest of his like, and will never drink and drive again. I think he deserves a chance to redeem himself.
While I think forgiveness is always better than the alternative, you’re not obligated to forgive him. But do you forgive your late friend? But if you can’t forgive the guy behind the wheel it’s your girlfriend’s choice if she can accept that or not, and either way one or both of you may lose more friends.
Post # 5
- Wedding: April 2013 - A court...
I agree with you OP, I honeatly hate people who drive while intoxicated, I wouldn’t want to be around him either.
Post # 6
I honestly would not be able to be around him. I cringe just reading your post. There is no way I would be able to sit in the same room with him and make nice. Throwing him a party? Is she serious? yay lets have a party because you are parolled from jail after killing someone in a drunk driving accident. I’m sorry that you are in this situation.
Post # 7
I can imagine he’s pretty distraught over this, being that you said the victim was his closest friend. If he still drinks and drives there is no way I’d be friends with him. If he has taken great steps to improve himself because of this situation, he’d be more tolerable to be around.
Of course you don’t have to forgive him and be his friend, and honestly out of this situation, he should expect that some people will feel that way. And I definitely wouldn’t be attending any party. A party for getting out of jail makes it seem like he doesn’t feel he should have been there.
Basically I think it all depends on his attitude about it.
Post # 8
- Wedding: September 2014 - Dallas, TX
A party to celebrate him getting out is definitely in bad taste, and you do have every right to not want to spend time with him. It sounds like you are still grieving for your friend, which is understandable. I do think calling him a murderer is too harsh. Murder involves the intent to kill, and he did not intentionally kill anyone. He made a terrible, awful, life changing mistake to drive drunk. Your deceased friend also made a mistake getting into the car with a drunk driver. If your friend’s bf has the correct attitude of remorse and repentence, I do think you should try to have a little more compassion. This doesn’t mean you need to be friends with him or hang out with him, but not everything is so black or white.
Post # 9
There’s nothing wrong with you not wanting to be friends with him, but I agree with aussiemum1248, calling it murder is not right. It seems to me that the situation could have been reversed and your friend and this guy’s fates could have been switched very easily. This does not take away the severity of this guy’s crime and terrible actions, but to equate it with someone who chooses to plan and commit murder seems extreme. <br />
It’s extremely inappropriate to have a party for this guy.
Post # 10
Wow; first, I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you’re still grieving, and you have my sincere condolences. As far as your friend’s BF: I completely understand not wanting to be around him. If someone I love were to end up injured or dead at the hand of someone I knew, regardless of how it happened, it would be hard to be around that person.
However, I don’t think your friend is a murderer. Murder implies an intent to kill, which it does not sound like your friend’s BF had. He DID make a mistake–he got way too drunk and got behind the wheel. On the other hand, the victim willingly (I assume) got into the car with the BF. I doubt either of them were thinking anything besides, “hey we’re drunk, let’s go get more drunk. I’m totally good, I can drive.” It ended horribly, and to have the BF call it a mistake seems appropriate. As long as he’s remorseful and has served time over it (which it seems to be the case), then I’d cut the guy at least a little slack. After all, he lost a friend too and not only has to grieve but has the guilt of the situation to deal with as well.
I do think a party is a bit extreme; I say that because I’m guessing that the people your friend would be inviting are probably also friends of the victim. It’s a slap in the face. You certainly are not required to attend.
Long story short: You don’t have to be friends with him, you don’t have to attend a party for him, and you don’t have to speak to him if you don’t want to. Just remember that he’s grieving too, and that he did make a horrible mistake; although it was tragic, it was not backed with malicious intent.
Post # 11
I don’t think that you have to be around him if it makes you feel uncomfortable. I also agree that a “party” is in poor taste.
I agree with PP’s – I don’t think this incident makes him a “murderer”. I would be willing to bet that (if hes a decent person) knowing he killed his really good friend because of a dumb choice he made is much more punishment than the time he served behind bars.
I also think it depends on what he is like now – is he still drinking? does he still drive drunk? etc. If yes – then I would distance myself from him. If he has used this terrible tragedy as a way to better his life – stop drinking, talk to yougn kids about drunk driving, etc. than I don’t think I’d have a problem being around him. Of course, we don’t know what he is like personality wise so it is hard to judge.
Post # 12
Your girlfriend has her head in the sand if she thinks that people will welcome her boyfriend with open arms. Tell her that you love her and are happy she’s happy, but you miss the victim and aren’t ready to celebrate yet.
Post # 13
DelilahDiamond: I think you’re being severe.
There was another person who made a choice that night – the drunk friend who chose to get in a car with an impaired driver. They both made stupid, irresponsible decisions with tragic consequences.
If this Dude feels genuine remorse and has committed to changing his ways then I think holding a grudge would be very unkind. I can’t imagine living with that guilt and a years prison sentence isn’t exactly a day at the beach.
If he doesn’t feel remorse, or continues to drink or heaven forbid drink and drive, walk away without a second thought.
What happened WAS an awful mistake. I’ve heard people in similar circumstances refer to their actions as “what happened” as if it were some random thing beyond their control. At least calling it a mistake accepts responsibility.
Maybe give him a chance?
Post # 14
Drink driving destroys so many lives, I honestly can’t abide anyone who does it and can understand the OP having reservations about hanging out with this person.
Having said this, I do believe this was an ‘awful mistake’ and extremely poor judgment. This young guy has paid for what he has done…he has to live with the fact that he was responsible for the death of his close friend forever, he has served time in prison and he has to realise that his life will never ever be the same as it was before. He will always have people whispering and staring, and there will always be people who call him ‘the murderer’, he may struggle to get work, a mortgage etc and the stigma of what happened will never fully leave.
I can’t excuse what he has done and I would certainly find forgiveness difficult in your circumstances but your friend who died also made a choice that night – he chose to get into the car with a drink driver and he paid for that with his life. I am so sorry that this happened but there are no winners in something like this, only losers. This guy is not a murderer but his actions and decisions on that one night killed his friend, he has to live with that.
Your friends boyfriend needs the chance to try and rebuild his life and his family and friends will help him do this. I agree that the party idea is in bad taste, but I don’t see anything wrong in the people close to him being there to support him and help him through after his release. He is very lucky that your friend has stood by him.
Post # 15
My overarching thought on this is: I’m not God. That said, I can’t condemn the guy for what he did. Conversely, neither can I forgive him for what he did. It’s not my place either way. All that’s in my power to decide is whether I want him in my life or not. Someone who is responsible for the death of someone I care about (and believe it or not, I am personally familiar with this type of situation so I’m not just whistling dixie here), regardless of whether they paid whatever miniscule debt was required of them by society, is very likely not qualified to be my friend.
I also want to throw in that voluntarily becoming intoxicated and voluntarily getting behind the wheel with the knowledge that you could very well kill someone is not that really an accident, IMO. That’s kinda like referring to someone leaving their baby outside overnight and it freezing to death as “an unfortunate decision with a tragic outcome.” Actually, it was a fully possible (and predictable) outcome of a fairly straightforward set of circumstances.
Would I hate him forever? I’m sure I wouldn’t. But would I attend a party celebrating his release? goodness no. Choosing to cut ties with someone based on an act that THEY themselves committed doesn’t have to involve holding a grudge. It just involves pruning your circle of those who you consider a bad influence. Also it’s worth noting that OP probably cut ties with the guy when her friend first died. She’s under no obligation to let him back in now, no matter how much he’s changed. And IMO, it doesn’t really matter how many times he’s done this before or will do it in the future. Some things only require one time to cast a light [or shadow] on a person
P.S. I know a guy who molested his young daughter (whom I used to babysit and hang out with). He’s paid his so-called debt to society–though I’m not sure what debt he paid to the little girl he ruined forever. This was yeeears ago and I’m sure he’s truly sorry. Is he an evil person? Probably not. Some people would say he just made a horrible decision that had a disastrous outcome. Do I hate him for what he did? Not anymore. Am I ever going to voluntarily be in the same room with him again as long as I live? Not a chance. This is not that different.