Recently, a truck collided with a bus filled with passengers, mostly young hockey players, in Saskatchewan. The most recent count is 16 dead, and many crippled for life. I don’t want to comment on a case that is being investigated by the police, but I have strong opinions about this. Many of the victims were young men from my area, and also, I train professional drivers. It is possible that I have met and worked with at least one of the drivers, with the bus or the truck.
To be clear, I am not a part of this tragedy, and I am not trying to take any of the glory for myself. There are a few degrees of separation for me. Many families are truly grieving because they have lost promising young men. Some of those families live near me and they deserve our sympathy.
The funerals started Friday.
I know what may have happened, but I will let the police explain, when they are ready. I also suspect what is going to happen, and that is something you should know.
We live in interesting times, and the world is changing around us.
We all drive on busy roads, or ride on buses, or possibly drive trucks. The transportation industry seems to be the go-to place for people who can’t find work, men and women. I was semi-retired, and someone asked me to help with training at a school for commercial drivers, and I have been busy since.
If you are wondering, this all started when I was young. My church was famous in our city for its big fleet of Sunday School buses, and driving a bus was more fun than sitting in boring church services, for a teenage boy. I have had a commercial driver’s license for most of my adult life because of the church. Now I do classroom safety training for professional drivers as I approach retirement. It’s like one big circle, and I think God directed me into this job.
Here is what you need to know. Machines on the road are much bigger, and faster, with very powerful engines. Also, regulations and enforcement are becoming severe, with on-board computers and cameras, and operators are getting frustrated.
And traffic is getting out of control; which is you and me in small cars. The changes are huge, and older drivers are leaving the work. They don’t like the pressure to take risky shortcuts on quiet highways, for example. For them, a stop sign means stop.
In that older generation, my parents got married and stayed together, and raised five children, over several decades. I never asked Dad if he wanted to do that. Men in that generation were mostly stable and worked for the good of other people, like me, the big hungry boy watching too much television in the basement. Economic planners think that generation is normal, and they believe there is an endless supply of reliable, church-going men who will work for low wages and sacrifice their lives for their families. These men, and now women, are needed to work on remote places, and to always be reliable and honest.
That supply dried up years ago.
I know, that in many parts of our economy, cheating is normal, if you can get away with it. Honest people lose money and can’t compete. A friend of mine quit a good job as a supervisor with a city because his workers were smoking dope and getting stoned, and then operating heavy equipment in traffic. The city could not fire them all and train new, clean workers, so they ignored the problem. He advised me to stay away from snowplows on the freeway.
When I was a child, society was Christianized, even though many people were not sincere Christians at a personal level. At least we all agreed on the best way. In that mix, I chose to be a Christian, and to make a personal commitment to Jesus. It was very hard for me to pull away from the culture of goodness, and actually follow the person of Jesus. Some of my friends still think I am crazy.
There is a saying in the transportation industry; the most important safety component of the truck is the loose nut behind the wheel. That means, the best working conditions, built around a corrupt human being, will always fail.
At a time when an employee was usually a slave, the Christians were told how to be a reliable worker:
Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. (Ephesians 6: 5 to 7)
That is seriously old school.
I believe the younger generation cannot produce the social stability and prosperity that the older generation gave us. We need new people in those new machines, and it doesn’t surprise me that a truck and a bus collided on a quiet highway, with many deaths. The news is filled with stories about presidents, and popes, and royal weddings, but we should all be concerned about the humble people who do the actual work.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (Ephesians 5:17)
Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding, but in the hearts of fools it is made known. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14: 33 and 34)