32 year-old Kenneth White was killed while driving in Vienna Township Michigan when teenagers threw a rock off of an I-75 overpass, striking the vehicle he was a passenger in. He was a father of four. “Several teens” were arrested on suspicion of killing Mr. White.
The motive for this time of crime is difficult to determine. To call this a prank is an insult to the victim, and it gives other potential offenders tacit permission to proceed and pull a similar stunt. Dropping a rock off a highway overpass just to see what will happen is the same type of action as lasing an aircraft cockpit. This is another senseless act where a laser pointer will be used to illuminate the cockpit of an aircraft on landing or takeoff, temporarily blinding the pilots. Or dragging a metal park bench into the middle of a busy street at night, so cars will have to lock up their brakes, or maybe hit the bench and send it flying, wrecking their car in the process. Or maybe killing or injuring the occupants. What great fun. Then there’s the knockout game where a teen will sneak up on an unsuspecting person and try to render them unconscious with one punch, often while their loser friends video it. What about throwing a small alligator through the drive in window of a Wendy’s restaurant as a prank? No, I am not making this up.
It is difficult to determine why someone would do things which are so irresponsible, reckless and dangerous. What do they think will happen? Do they even consider the possibility people will be hurt or killed? That there could be a multicar pile up on a busy highway? That a plane could crash? Or is this the purpose? To delight in mayhem and see some destruction? Maybe the perpetrators were drunk, maybe they were bored, maybe they were sociopaths and wanted to experience pleasure from cruelty and watching someone die, or seeing something destroyed. Alcohol, combined with boredom, poor judgement, immaturity, sociopathy, and outright stupidity is a bad combination.
Youth are by nature impulsive. They may act without consideration of cause and effect, or the potential consequences of their actions. They even are less likely to connect cause and effect if they are less intelligent. There is a correlation between low IQ and criminal violence. Understanding the poorly considered reasons for reckless actions which endanger other people is not an excuse. It does not lessen the criminal culpability of the perpetrators. While the motive for an act like this is difficult to understand, the outcome is very clear. Dropping rocks off a highway overpass is not a prank. It is an act of depraved indifference to human life.