An Unseemly Display of Public Grief


I'm not sure what it is about the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn that has me confused. These are supposed to be a bunch of tough, crazy, but creative guys who stage dangerous stunts that are filmed so that people can sort of live vicariously through them. One bad thing happens and they go to pieces.

Roger Ebert made a flip joke about the man's death and that caused the Twitter world (and a few other worlds) to turn on Ebert and force an apology out of him. Dunn's friend, Bam Margera, pictured above, has had a public breakdown over the death of Dunn that would seem to suggest that this was an unforseen, senseless tragedy.

How senseless was this?
"Jackass" star Ryan Dunn was drunk and speeding up to 140 mph when his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 crashed and caught fire on a Pennsylvania highway early Monday, police said Wednesday.
Dunn and Zachary Hartwell, a 30-year-old West Chester, Pennsylvania, man who once worked in one of Ryan's movies, died from "blunt and thermal trauma" in the fiery crash, according to the autopsy report released Tuesday.
"The initial crash reconstruction investigation determined that Mr. Dunn's vehicle was traveling between 132-140 mph at the time of the collision," West Goshen Police Chief Michael Carroll said in a statement Wednesday.
Now, compare all of this to how Henry Rollins has handled the death of his friend in an armed robbery.




Every time I have seen or heard Rollins talk about what happened, I say, there's a man who knows how to express his public grief. We should aspire to be so eloquent. If you watch those two videos and absorb what Rollins is saying, there's no way you can look at the death of man and the friend who sat next to him in the car from something as stupid as drinking and driving and not feel revulsion at the idea we're supposed to feel sorry for them. I don't feel sorry for them.

All I've seen so far on the death of Ryan Dunn is an extended pity parade. Dunn got drunk, drove his expensive sports car recklessly, and got himself and his passenger killed. Do I feel bad for their families? Absolutely. Do I feel that this was a sad fate for these two young men? Absolutely. Their tragedy is real and their grief is real. But their moral authority, when it comes to shaming people who have an opinion, does not exist.

Since when do we pity drunk drivers who kill with their vehicles? When did that start? Doesn't this set a dangerous precedent? Should we feel sorry for people who get drunk, get behind the wheel, and cause not only their own death but the death of someone else? What if, on that same stretch of road, someone who isn't famous and rich enough to drive a sports car were the victim of their decision to drive drunk and ride with a drunk?

The correct response is not being given here. The correct response is fuck you, dude. You got what you had coming to you on the surface of the tree that stopped your Porsche. And the running buddies you've left behind don't have any moral authority to shame anyone into silence since they obviously knew about your issues and did nothing.

That's right. Fuck you, Ryan Dunn. You drink, you drive, you die.