32 year old Courtney Ann Sanford died last month, on April 23rd. I heard about this death when I read it this article on Gawker: Woman Dies in Car Crash While Posting How Happy “Happy” Makes Her

That’s right, Ms. Sanford was texting and driving. She posted an update to her Facebook page via her phone at 8:33 and one minute late she was dead, after having crashed into a truck. It is certainly ironic that her last known words were about how HAPPY she was. And this article makes an excellent point about texting and driving:

Just how important was letting her Facebook followers know that she liked that “Happy” song? Most would agree this was not worth her life. Along with the “Happy” post, she had posted some selfies during the last few minutes of her life.

There’s definitely a lesson to be learned from this. Hopefully more people will pay attention and prevent “accidents” like this from happening in the future. But back to the original article, some arguments erupted in the comment section, as there were people basically dismissing her death, saying it was her own fault (which it was), so why should anyone feel sorry for her. Some even invoked the phrase Social Darwinism. Others countered with the idea that we should be respectful for her family and loved ones that she left behind. Then others countered with statements like “I doubt her loved ones are checking Gawker comments anyway.” All good points.

But this raises an issue I’ve dealt with before, this idea of how are we supposed to react publicly when someone dies? What is the “public’s” responsibility? There are many who believe that it is almost always “bad” to disparage the dead, especially soon after their death (unless we’re talking about mass-murders, terrorists, etc.). I’ve dealt with this in my previous entries about conservative activist Andrew Breitbart and comic-book con-artist Rick Olney. If someone was a bad person while alive, why must be all pretend like we feel sorry when they die? Why does death wipe the slate clean?

I could see myself being criticized more for my reaction to Breitbart’s death, as you could argue that he was simply a man espousing opposing political views. And it’s not like his death brought about the end of the Far Right, the Tea Party, or even his website. There are plenty to take his place. But in Rick Olney’s case, the man had a fully-documented record of thievery and other horrible behavior for the last 6 or 7 years of his life. Even after being diagnosed with cancer, he did not repent or change his ways. In fact he just used his cancer to con Matt Busch into turning over all those valuable Indiana Jones maps to him for his phony convention and then refused to return them. Right up until a couple of months before his death he remained unrepentant, still denying that he stole from anyone or ripped anyone off, and still bragging about all of his big plans to publish comic-books. So then he dies and I’m supposed to act like I’m sad?

Well, I’m not. It sucks that he was never made to pay for what he did while alive but at least now I know he can’t cheat anyone else in the future, nor continue to mock those that he cheated in the past. Should I offer condolences to his family? Why? That would be phony. I don’t know any of his family, so why would I say anything to them, on the off-chance that they’re reading my blog? Knowing that some of them may be sad at Olney’s death doesn’t change anything for me. Or some would say that I should just not say anything, if I have nothing nice to say. But if I could talk about his crimes while he was alive, why not also after he dies? As I said before, maybe this will encourage the next con-artist out there to consider how they will be remembered after they die, and therefor change their behavior before it’s too late.

So, in the case of Courtney Ann Sanford. She was texting and driving. That is extremely dangerous behavior. Just like drinking and driving. I didn’t know this woman, or what kind of person she was in life, so I have no reason to be glad that she’s dead, but I am glad that she only killed herself. She could have killed or seriously injured others. Thankfully the driver of the truck she hit was unharmed. But this could have been MUCH worse, with truly innocent victims, and THOSE loved ones are whom I would have felt sorry for. But for Miss Sanford, eh.

That doesn’t mean that I believe in being deliberately cruel. I’ve seen her official obituary that her family set-up, I’m not going to leave nasty comments about her in the Guest Book. There’s also a FB page set up to remember her, and some folks were leaving nasty comments on that. That sort of thing is overboard. I didn’t go comment on Olney obituary or send mocking messages to his family on FB, either. But I don’t see anything wrong with me posting this here, on my own blog, saying that I don’t really feel sorry that she died. And if any of her family or loved ones happen to come across this and feel bad, well, I can’t help that.

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