“Life is short, and we should respect every moment of it.” -Orhan Pamuk
You’re out enjoying a wonderful time with your significant other and friends.
Eating, being merry, and enjoying life.
You give everyone a hug, a kiss, and a goodbye.
“I’ll see you soon,” you tell everyone.
As you ride home, you and your significant other discuss the night’s happenings, going over the conversations you both have had, explore some new topics, and discuss the next day’s agenda.
Your car has been rear – BAM!
You’ve now rear-ended the car in front of you.
Your adrenaline and stress levels are high, for your fear of loss of life and limb flash your emotions first, then that of the loved one with you.
Naturally you are wondering who was the irresponsible person who hit you and caused you to hit someone else.
You get out, upset.
Insurance, police, lawyers, it’s late at night, you’re tired, you don’t want to deal with any of this.
Little do you know, the other driver is carrying a gun, is experiencing road rage, and is prepared to shoot you and your significant other.
Your life is soon to be taken and you had no idea.
That is the situation former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith and his wife faced in New Orleans in the early morning hours of this Sunday.
The driver, 30 year old Cardell Haynes, has currently been charged with second degree murder after shooting and killing Will Smith after an argument following an accident between the two. The suspect rear-ended Smith’s vehicle in an impact so powerful it caused Smith’s vehicle to strike the back of another car.
Smith’s wife remains in the hospital after being shot in the leg by the alleged shooter.
In the state of Louisiana, the driver of a car rear-ending another vehicle is legally presumed to be at fault.
Four days prior to this tragedy Will Smith spoke at the United Nations for the International Day for Sport for Development and Peace and Sport 4 Development Summit.
The Sport 4 Development Summit is raising awareness “for the benefit of using sport as a catalyst for developmental change and peace around the world.”
Will Smith stood on the one of the most esteemed platforms speaking on peace around the world and four short days later was taken out by a bullet in his own city by road rage.
It is a situation that could have happened to any of us.
Each of us has been in traffic in a myriad of situations just this week where someone cut us off, ran a stoplight, did not allow us to merge, or nearly hit us.
Our adrenaline pumping, our first response is to give that person a piece of our mind.
And guess what? That person is far more than ready, even though it’s their fault, to give us a piece of their mind and possibly take a pound of our flesh.
According to American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, aggressive driving accounts for 56% of traffic fatalities.
The National Safety Council estimates 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million injured on U.S. roads in 2015, which saw the largest one-year percentage increase in half a century.
That means over 20,000 people each year are being killed by people engaging in behavior defined as “deliberate, likely to increase the risk of collision and is motivated by impatience, annoyance, hostility, and/or an attempt to save time” according to AAA.
Also according to AAA, 32% of drivers report anxiety of the dangers of encountering an aggressive driver, the same number who report having anxiety over facing an encounter with a drunk driver.
An alarming statistic shows approximately 1,500 people are killed in road rage encounters a year.
What happened to Will Smith was a senseless tragedy that could have happened to any of us.
This tragedy hits home and this hits our roads every single day.
Be careful out there.
Life is a precious gift.
Exavier B. Pope I, Esq. is an award winning attorney, on air legal analyst, media personality, Fortune 500 speaker, content creator, writer, tastemaker, thought leader, and yogi. Mr. Pope is the host of #SuitUP Podcast for his production company 528 Media Group, and a contributing writer and host of the Radical Inspiration Podcast distributed through Wanderlust/Yoganonymous. Mr. Pope has over 200+ appearances on air, including: international television on BBC and Al Jazeera English; national television on Fox News Channel, HLN, NBC Nightly News, Al Jazeera America, WGN Morning News, Fox Business Channel, and Huff Post Live; Top 3 Local Media Markets on Fox, CBS, and NBC; international radio on BBC Radio; national radio on ESPN Radio, Clear Channel Radio, NBC Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio; written and contributed digitally to The Hollywood Reporter, CNBC, Huffington Post, Jet, and Black Enterprise; and has appeared in other media outlets nationally and internationally. Mr. Pope is represented by top media and literary agency RLR Associates.
© 2016, Exavier B. Pope I, Esq., 528 Media Group.
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