I had heard it was powerful, and it was. I had heard it was realistic, and it was. I had also heard it was a tad melodramatic, and it was that, too. But mostly it was heartbreaking and devastating - and it scared me to death.
Bloody, lifeless teenagers strewn about the blacktop. Police cars, EMTs, rescue helicopters and the coroner's wagon. Images of a 16-year-old being lifted into a body bag, and the sounds of a sobbing teenager calling for his dead friend. The authoritative, almost businesslike efficiency of the officials tending to the victims.
Images that snapped by in quick succession like a child's flip book.
I knew it was staged; I understood it wasn't real. But still I had to turn away. It took me just a millisecond to picture my own child in that heap of rubble, and it was a horrifying picture.
Like any parent, I am fully behind a program that hammers home the dangers of drinking and driving. I am all for knocking teens senseless with the irrevocable repercussions of driving while intoxicated, or getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.
Every 15 Minutes puts the realities of teen drinking and driving into perspective. It does an amazing job of bringing the families and friends and authority figures of the teens into the big picture. It shows teens how fast a life can change, how quickly things can happen, how permanent death really is.
My son will have the opportunity to participate in the Every 15 Minutes program at his high school this spring, and I trust it will have an impact. I pray he will see through the special effects and drama to the real message. I trust he will understand a little more clearly that his choices will affect not only his life, but the lives of those who love him, and the lives of people he doesn't even know.
I want him to pay attention. I want him to understand, and I want him to believe that he can make a difference, and that there are always alternatives to getting into a car or behind the wheel intoxicated.
Every 15 Minutes showed me that. I hope it will show my son as well.