Generally speaking, my fits of writing tend to begin with writing about something that is exceptionally unpopular. This particular topic is likely to earn me more heat than most but I can’t help but feel that I don’t really care very much…
Driving back from Lafayette today I heard a protracted WIBC story about Dan Weldon. They went on at length about what a shame it was that he was killed and I don’t disagree. When people die, it sucks. From everything the news reporter had to say, he was a nice guy: involved in his community, great father, great husband, all the usual stuff. That’s wonderful. More people should aspire to such a position in life. I was right on board with them until they suggested that listeners should contribute to the trust fund for his family. Excuse me? Perhaps I didn’t hear properly?
During his racing career, Dan Wheldon has earned $14,612,570. The median annual household income in Indiana is $45,424. When I think that the local radio station is suggesting that households that make 1/300th as much as Dan Wheldon send his family money it quite frankly turns my stomach. Seriously? Was Wheldon’s death a tragedy? Yes, by all means. I hate to see anyone lose their life in pursuit of their job. But for the love of all that’s good, do not send this millionaire’s family any money. If you feel the need to help someone, why not give to the many millions of families who don’t have enough money to even fulfill their basic needs.
All too often I think that in this country we confuse grief with actual need. Wheldon’s family is hurting emotionally. They lost a loving father and husband. I feel for them. However, that doesn’t mean that they need the financial outpourings of people across the country. If you feel the need to help people who are REALLY hurting, how about donating time or money to the local homeless shelter? How about helping people who really need it? There are families all around us who can’t buy food or the basic necessities of life. Wheldon’s death is a tragedy, but there are so many better ways that your money could be spent.