81: Thank You, Mrs. Riggs

Ten years ago this week, a 17 year old boy died.  I’ve been reading a lot about this young man in the last couple days because his story scares me…in just the way I need to be scared.

Paul M. Riggs went to military school. He came home for Thanksgiving and went to a party at a “friend’s” house. He drank alcohol that night – the “friend’s” parents were in the house.
     On the way home from the party, he smashed his car into a tree just blocks from his home. He died three weeks later from his injuries.

M…You wonder why I worry so much. These things really do happen – and they happen all the time. Paul lived just a few miles from our house. I simply do not want to suffer the pain Mrs. Riggs has had to endure over the last 10 years… 

But I would like to meet her. I need to thank her.

     The social host law, or Paul’s Law, was passed by the Kansas Legislature in 2004. This law simply made it illegal for parents to provide or serve alcohol to teens in their homes.

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3 thoughts on “81: Thank You, Mrs. Riggs

  1. M your mom is right. I recall an accident here where a 13 year old was out with two of his friends who were older and they were driving recklessly and no doubt thought they were having a grand time. I did hear rumour of drugs and/or alcohol being involved but can't say for certain. The driver lost control and they crashed into a power pole. The two older boys got out of the car and ran away, leaving the younger behind. I doubt if they realized his condition. A nurse who lived in the neighbourhood and heard the crash came out but soon realized that all she could do was to hold him while he died. When these things happen, it's not only the victim who suffers but the family, the friends, classmates and community. So very sad and such an enormous waste.

  2. This New Year's will mark the 24th anniversary of the death of Kevin Brockway. He was my friend growing up who, 2 weeks prior to his 17th birthday, went to a New Year's Eve party (where parents were home), drank, drove drunk and crashed his car into a tree, killing him and seriously injuring his best friend. On May 24, 1999, Kevin's Law was signed into law-making it a felony for a person to provide alcohol to someone under 21 if that person becomes intoxicated and causes or suffers death or great bodily harm.

    The Brockway family has been instrumental in getting the message out to teenagers that drinking and driving is a way to end your life, not to live it-showing Kevin's totaled car at the high schools in the Twin Cities metro area until it was retired in 2003. I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the Brockways, but I know that they would much rather have their son-to hug and hold, to see get married and have children-than a law named after him in rembrance of his short life. God bless the Brockways and the Riggs families and may God save us from having to endure the same tragedies in the future.

  3. As it should be. When will parents realize that their kids health and well being are more important than being cool or friends with their kids.

    If you are a parent, you are fully responsible for the life you brought in to this world.

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