Tuesday, August 31, 2010

13 Year Old Dies at Indy

At age 13, Peter Lenz became the youngest competitor to die at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this past Sunday. He fell off his motorcycle during a warmup lap and was ran over by a 12 year old boy.

The outcry from those that would protect us from ourselves has already begun, even though Peter's father has stated that Peter died doing what he loved.

Some are already saying that the parents can't be trusted with insuring their children's safety, that it is society's job.

At first glance, this looks very bad, and, certainly, it is a tragedy. But where do we draw the line? At least 22 high school football players have died in the U.S. in the past ten years. Each one was tragic, no doubt, but where are the calls for society to police the parents and coaches of this sport?

What about the thousands of teens killing themselves on our highways each year? No uproar for them? Yet, one, well experienced racer dies, and the inquisitions begin.

What is the answer? Surely there are parents who knowingly, or unknowingly, force their sons and daughters to partake in dangerous activities. Where does society, or government, step in and say, "Enough." Or, should they ever step in where there is no clear mistreatment towards the youths?

I'm all for less government, but an investigation of the sanctioning body for this motorcycle race may well be warranted.


  1. Gene,

    I had to think about this for awhile...

    You can go several directions here. First, young people participate in all kinds of adult supervised endeavors. Unfortunately children have been hurt or worse in those pursuits. You mentioned football, but what about baseball, hockey or basketball? I'm sure there have been terrible accidents in those sports as well. Then there's youth rodeo, competitive horseback riding and even tennis and golf. Without doing a lot of research, I don't think it would be difficult to find there have been young people seriously injured or killed participating in those pastimes. Just as you point out, where's the outcry when a child is killed under those circumstances?

    I truly believe that what we have here (children in racing) goes a lot deeper than the upfront argument that children shouldn't be allowed to race motorized vehicles for their safety...

    There is a movement afoot that racing motorized vehicles is something modern society should not be involved in. There have been serious articles written in the national media that in so many words advocate banning auto racing. So far the people that believe this way are speaking to a small minority of the population, but just as advocates of other unpopular endeavors do, the anti-racing crowd will jump on any opportunity to justify their cause.

    How can we forget the recent accident on a California off-road course? Granted, what happened was totally stupid. Several people lost their lives under very unsafe circumstances. The media hoopla was huge. Off-road racing was justifiably denigrated but auto sports as a whole got a black eye. Now a 13 year old is killed racing a motorcycle in Indianapolis, the Mecca of racing in our country, and the media is right back, down on racing.

    These occurences are being used to build a case against auto racing. Did you know there's a website entitled "Ban NASCAR Now"? Recently, Norman Chad, in a nationally syndicated article wrote that the time has come for NASCAR in particular and auto racing in general to be stopped. The argument being that racing is a waste of natural resources. It appears the Green Movement is behind this.

    So, just as I've heard you and others state; If NASCAR is to survive, it needs to appeal to the young people of America (and I wholeheartedly agree), the Green Movement knows that banning children from participating in motorized vehicle racing would work over the long term to kill NASCAR and the other forms of automotive racing.

    Finally, let's go one step further. Take a look at the type of people that make up NASCAR's fan base. By and large we're talking about a very conservative, God fearing group. Then take a look at the Green Movement. These people are what I call liberal progressives. These two groups are diametrically opposed. Based upon recent court judgments, I have to say that the progressives will have the final say if a ban on children in racing is enacted and any subsequent court challenges are made since our judges lean towards the progressives.

    So what do we do?

  2. Gene:

    It is sad about the 13 year old. Must have ben a freak accident. I do think children should have some restrictions in racing to prevent accidents like this. But then again, you can't legislate or ban sports activities. That would be a socialist agenda.


    Considering the options of kids sitting around getting high on drugs because the " progressives" think sports are unsafe and deadly, what do they think about that option? There isn't much that kids can do at those early ages if not involved in sports of some sorts to keep them off the streets.

  3. Thanks to all who commented.

    I wrote this not knowing what would be the correct actions, if any, to take about parents allowing minors to compete in deadly activities. I don't like government telling parents what they think is safe for kids, but some parents are dumber than their kids.

    I know if the govt gets a foot in the door, they will take over child rearing. Mrs Obama's 'war on childhood obesity' is just a way to get one of her size 12s in the door.

    I posted this on another site and most of the responses were from guys with kids, and they all felt like the parents and children must be allowed to make their own decisions.

    Okay, what about the parents allowing their teen-age daughter to try and sail around the globe, solo?

  4. WAAAAAYYYYY behind again, sorry guys!

    Tragic accidents happen - there are reasonable guidelines for all sports for appropriate ages for participation already in place. You take a risk walking out your front door every day to go to work or school. We cannot be protected from everything.

    True some parents have worse judgment than kids but overall, the team, the league, the sports association etc can provide a check and balance and there no way you can save a kid from a bad parent their entire childhood.

    IMO one of our worst social problems is not taking responsibility for our actions, decisions and choices. We are becoming a country of blamers and victims.