Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bam Margera...An Open Letter


   Death is a shocker, isn't it? We knows it's inevitable and yet it shocks us to our core every time.  I'm very sorry that you're dealing with the recent death of Ryan Dunn.  I would suppose that anyone with a heart felt sympathy to hear that someone so young had passed away and certainly in the tragic way that Ryan did.  I, too, have lost a friend and understand the surreal place that you're living in, right now.  I was only 19 at the time, and it shook my world in a way that very few things ever have. It's been years, and that is still absolute truth. I think of her often, as I know that you will think often of Ryan. You simply cannot believe that they are gone.  It feels a little like moving under water, with an anvil sitting squarely on your chest, doesn't it? 

    My friend's name was Sonja Ruppe.  She died at the age of 22 while on her way to the University that we both attended at the time.  She was driving up I-85, in South Carolina, when she was hit by a driver who was on the wrong side of the interstate.  That driver had taken some pills that she'd washed down with a "little" alcohol and in her stupor had mistakenly chosen the wrong side of the highway to reach her destination.  Sonja was behind an 18 wheeler who hit their brakes when they saw the drunk driver coming the wrong way.  Because Sonja was unable to see around the 18 wheeler, even though she was traveling at a correct rate of speed and at a correct distance behind the truck according to police reports, she moved into the fast lane and was slammed into, head on, at a speed of around 65 miles per hour, while Sonja was driving at almost the same rate of speed.  Essentially, that is like hitting a brick wall while driving at a rate of 120 miles per hour. 

    As you can imagine, there wasn't much left of Sonja...her legs were still under the steering wheel of the car, while her torso was found in the backseat of her small compact...and the intoxicated lady left the scene with little more than a few broken bones.  We heard later that this is quite common in drunk driving accidents. 

      I know that in Ryan's wreck this wasn't the case and I genuinely am sorry that you, and your other friends, are dealing with this tragedy.  However, I think it must be said that at the end of the day all of our actions have consequences.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  I've read the blogs and the news articles that are up in arms about Roger Ebert's distasteful comments, but I don't think any of the Jackass crew should have the luxury of simply excusing Ryan's behavior because he was famous and your friend.  He made a choice.  He faced the consequences of those choices.  Unfortunately, in his case, those consequences were death.  Actually, I find it pretty distasteful that so many have the audacity to act as though this is some kind of surprise and that it's somehow so unfair.  Really? Seriously?

     Perhaps, when all the media find some other ridiculous story to beat us over the head with and life settles back into it's regular routine, you and the Steve O's of the world should take this out of it's little box in your head and really dissect it.  Your friend killed someone else because he CHOSE to drive drunk at speeds of potentially up to 140 miles per hour.  Ryan Dunn got behind the wheel of his Porsche and, evidently believing himself to be invincible, killed himself and someone else.  I can't tell you how thankful everyone should be that he didn't kill anyone else.  I know, first hand, the heartache that you feel when the person you loved did nothing wrong, and still...they find themselves being forced to pay for the consequences of someone else's choices and actions. 

     Perhaps, when all is said and done, you and the Jackass crew could sit down and determine that being a Jackass may be lucrative, but it's also dangerous, and in many cases, wrong.  Maybe you guys could do something good with the fame that you've stumbled into.  Let's be very honest, there's just not that much talent involved with your shows, but there are kids who believe that they can live the way you portray your life and that there are no repercussions.  I'd say Ryan has proven that that simply isn't the case.  Don't let this opportunity go to waste.  Stop being a Jackass and get yourself together and tell the world that what your friend did was wrong.  Tell that kid sitting in front of the TV watching you guys harm yourselves for pay, that driving while intoxicated has consequences that really are like that pebble that you throw in the pond.  The ripples move out to your family, your friends, and anyone who loves you....whether you're the Jackass that chooses to drive drunk and kills himself and the passenger with him, or the jackass that slams into college kids and steals their life forever.  Someone always pays for the choice of driving drunk.

  You, too, have a choice, Bam.  Will you act like a spoiled child and continue to live your life in a way that is completely about you and no one else?  Forever in search of the big "rush"? Will you bury yourself in the very thing that killed someone you called a friend or will you examine this and take some personal responsibility for yourself?  All eyes are, once again, on you, Bam.

    Again, I'm so very sorry that you, and all your friends, are having to live with this heartache.  I promise you that it really will get better(I know that sounds trite, but I swear it's the truth)...and I pray that you use this time, and this opportunity, to do something that very few people ever get the chance to do:  affect how people see the world and how they act and react to it.  Don't waste it on being a jackass...



  1. How about instead of trying to lecture on the dangers of drunk driving, you let Bam Margera grieve. Whatever the situation was, his best friend died, and as you and I both know, it's not something that goes away in three days. My best friend passed and it took me months to get my head together enough to function normally and his death wasn't even an accident. We all knew it was going to happen soon. How would you have felt if, and I don't mean any disrespect to you, but what if someone came up to you three days after your friend Sonja passed that she deserved it because if she hadn't tailgated an 18 wheeler and swerved into the fast lane, she might have caught herself before the collision. You'd want to strangle that person, wouldn't you? You know what it's like to lose a friend, so why don't you get off your high horse for two seconds and be respectful of the fact that a guy lost his best friend and not call him a jackass.

    And I'm not condoning Ryan Dunn's actions at all. He paid the ultimate price for what he did and it's terrible that one of his friends had to go as well.

  2. Because based on these guys history, there's been way too many people that decided maybe "now" isn't the time to say anything. It's never a good time to hear that you've lived a life of excess that's destroying the people around you. There's just not a good time to say those things, but maybe RIGHT NOW some of them would actually HEAR it because they are in the middle of FEELING it instead of always being the one to dish it out.

    And as a side note: Sonja wasn't "tailgating". She was driving at a normal rate of speed, at a normal distance behind the 18 wheeler for an Interstate highway. When he hit his breaks because he was sitting up high in the 18 wheeler, and could see farther than most people, Sonja moved to the "fast" lane, as most people would do to pass a slowing vehicle. Since the lady was on the complete wrong side of the interstate, it was impossible to see her unless Sonja had been driving almost 100 ft behind the 18 wheeler and sitting up at the same level as the 18 wheeler. Since most people don't do that, we can agree that nothing Sonja did was at did the police. Unlike Ryan Dunn, who was completely responsible for his actions.

    Why is it that it's not OK to state that? And why should Bam and the rest of the group NOT see truth and then address it, RIGHT now while it's an actual issue, before people move on? It doesn't make Ryan less their friend, or any less great in their eyes. It simply means that they have an opportunity to take responsibility for actions they all have publicly taken part in, and teaching kids who may look up to them that THIS is wrong and let's change this together. Ryan's death doesn't have to be in vain...and much of that is in Bam's, and the rest of the Jackass groups, hands.