Here's the article....seems like we're under the gun right now. Don't be surprised if your insurance rates go up this year or cops give you a hard time around town
Hard to shed a tear for fools riding fast track to death
September 22, 2004
BY RICHARD ROEPER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST Advertisement
Some news reports about sudden deaths make our hearts go heavy, even though we didn't know the victims. I've seen people choke up watching or reading a story about a child or a parent or a soldier who dies in one of those incidents that make us question God's will.
Other times, we're empathy-free. We say things like, "Well, I don't wish that on anyone, but he kinda got what he deserved."
And then we click the channel or turn the page.
Knowing only what you learn from reading the obituary in the Oshkosh, Wis., Northwestern, you can't help but feel terrible about the death of a 23-year-old man.
"Dana was born in Shawano (Wis.) on February 14, 1981," reads the obit. "Dana . . . was on the cross country team in high school. . . . He loved music of all kinds, reading and history. Dana was outspoken, kept in shape by playing basketball, football, boxing and weight lifting. Dana will especially be remembered by friends and family for the harmless pranks he pulled on them.
"Dana will be missed by his parents . . . sisters . . . his children . . . niece . . . nephew . . . grandparents . . . many aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends.
"May your room be touched with sunshine, may your hours be cheered by friends
May God's love and tender mercy , bring you peace that never ends
May He stay especially close to you now"
No doubt every word of that obit is sincere and true.
Consider, though, how Dana Bettin died. He's the man who made national news for dropping his fiance's 8-month-old daughter out of a moving car as he tried to flee from police after he was accused of domestic violence.
The baby girl, strapped into a car seat, was unharmed. Bettin, who had slowed when he dropped the baby, then accelerated to speeds up to 100 mph and crashed into an unoccupied squad car. He died shortly thereafter in a hospital in Green Bay.
If the baby had been a fatality and the driver had survived, we'd say there's no justice in the world. But with the baby doing fine and Bettin meeting his eternal fate, we think: That seems about fair.
It's hard to feel bad for anyone who would drop a baby onto a highway. Despite his family's wishes, Bettin will not "especially be remembered" for his "harmless pranks." He'll be remembered for that highway chase. Doesn't mean they shouldn't have given him a tender obituary; it just means the rest of us don't much care if Dana Bettin receives "God's love and tender mercy." That's between him and his God.
All proper respect to the family and loved ones of Jesse Cooper, but it's also difficult for outsiders to drum up huge amounts of sympathy for a 37-year-old man who takes a 100 mph-plus joy ride on Lake Shore Drive, loses control and slams into a light pole.
The man was a husband. A father. About to become a minister. What an incredible, senseless waste of human life -- all in the name of macho gamesmanship.
Cooper is the seventh person to die in a motorcycle accident in Cook County in the last 23 days.
Last week, a Lemont man was was going at least 90 mph on the Stevenson Expy. when he crashed into a wall.
A few weeks before that, a motorcyclist going an estimated 100 mph crashed into a retaining wall on the Dan Ryan.
Motorcycle. Person. Wall. Guess what wins every time?
Return of the biker boyz
Three and a half years ago, Daemond Rogan of Calumet City was clocked at 160 mph on Lake Shore Drive. Rogan was issued eight tickets. After pleading guilty to reckless driving and aggravated speeding, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The Sun-Times reported that when Rogan reclaimed his Honda at an auto pound, he said his "lifelong dream is seeing 200 mph," and then he popped a wheelie and zoomed away.
In the spring of 2003, I wrote about encountering some extreme cyclists on I-57. These helmet-less bikers were going at least 80 mph in broad daylight as they performed jaw-dropping stunts.
After the column appeared, I heard from dozens of motorcyclists. I learned about street racing clubs. I heard about individual cowboys who think nothing of going 150, 160, 170 mph -- on street- legal bikes. I found out about chat boards where bikers post stories about their best individual speeds.
Maybe some of these riders are trying to beat Rogan's "record" as the fastest thing on wheels in Chicago history. Maybe they just like to go fast, unbelievably fast, on Lake Shore Drive, I-57, the Stevenson, the Ryan, wherever. Maybe they get a big thrill out of spitting in the face of death, and scaring the hell out of motorists chugging away at 60 or 70 mph.
One thing seems certain. No matter how skilled or experienced they are, if they're on Chicago-area expressways going 150 mph without a helmet, they must not have much respect for their lives or the lives of those around them.
"Ebert & Roeper" airs at 10:35 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WLS-Channel 7.