I made it to the ripe old age of 49. Yes boys and girls, 49. As I approached my birthday this past September, I refused to say that number and did not mentally want to hear it. Yes, I know I’m one year away from 50. Aren’t I supposed to have the wisdom of the world by now? I do have a little. Here it is.
No one person always makes the right decisions all the time. We make mistakes and must deal with the results. The best part about this is if we survive, we do not have to make that same mistake again and can help others with our experience. Stay with me…you have got to understand that making a decision will have what’s called – consequences. It’s a big word. I define consequences as the result of something you choose to do or not to do.
Back in the 90’s, I was on a complaint dealing with a suspect that had cut another individual. In the course of bringing him in, I came across a person who made a decision that would have long lasting consequences on me, my family, and even you who are reading this. That person decided to drink and drive. He crashed head on into my patrol unit. I was trapped. The car caught fire. Friends from the Sheriff’s Office and Morgan City Fire Department got me out. I went to the hospital where I stayed for almost a month. I have had three surgeries as a result of the crash. But, I’m not the only one who suffered because of that person’s decision. My wife had to change her life because of it, my parents changed because of it, my coworkers were affected because of it. Even my kids, who weren’t even born yet, have been affected by it.
When you are about to make a decision, you fall back on what you already know. Sometimes, we may not be fortunate enough to have that knowledge to guide us. We have got to look at what might happen if we do it, or don’t do it. When you’re out hanging with your friends, trying your best to fit in, and somebody decides that alcohol or marijuana use is a good idea, you have to evaluate what is good for you. The decision to use can bring a lot of negative consequences. It affects you immediately and in the long term. The decision to use drugs may bring acceptance from those around you; but are those the people you really need? You may run afoul of law enforcement and end up with a lot of unwanted attention (incarceration, probation). You may become drug dependant. In the long run, you may damage relationships with loved ones and family. Oh and by the way lets stop thinking about ourselves for a minute. What about those strangers out there that will be forced to live with the consequences of your decision to use drugs if things go badly?
The decision to not use may mean that those so called friends won’t accept you. Wow, think about that. You will be forced to find friends that have a positive impact on you. The decision to not use will mean that you don’t have to worry about trouble with your parents, teachers, bosses, or law enforcement. Not using means you will have time to finds things that are positive and help you in the future.
O.K. so the ramblings of an about to be 50 year old are short but maybe not so sweet. It’s all about how you want to live your life. We make decisions every day that point us in the direction that we will be heading. If that decision about drug use is – yes – you can plan on a lot of negative consequences coming your way. If the decision to use drugs is –no – then positive consequences are bound to be in your future.
Detective Howard Rogers, Jr.
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office
Detective Howard Rogers sharing the story of his encounter with an impaired driver at the 2015 D.A.R.E. graduation at Bayou Vista Elementary School