Break the Chain River's Law

Updated (4/11/2002) In January, 2002, an anonymous individual began posting an urgent plea on a variety of message boards for readers to visit a web page and help with "the fight of my life."

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

PLEASE READ THIS WEB PAGE, AND SEND YOUR COMMENTS AND ADVICE. I'M IN FOR THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE HERE AND I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET. I ADDED A LINK TO MAKE IT EASY TO READ. THANK YOU......

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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Readers were then directed to a Yahoo! profile page, which urged them to visit this web site that tells the sad story of the death of 11-month old River, her cousin and grandmother in an auto accident. We're told that the accident was caused not by a drunk driver, but by a man with a heart condition who passed out at the wheel. Upon hearing of his terrible deeds, the man died of a heart attack. We are then called upon to "Vote for 'River's Law.'

As I suspected (and feared) back in January, it didn't take long for this cause to turn into an e-petition. This began circulating in April, 2002:

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

RIVERS LAW PETITION

PLEASE READ!!!!

They Never Stood A Chance!!

Don't Let It Happen To You!!

Please, try and understand, this is not just an accident that can happen. This man James H Jones had passed out 3-times, in a restaurant on this deadly morning and refused everyone's offer of help. Because he still had his license after his first accident of passing out and killing a man he drove himself away and killed 3 more.When do we say enough is enough? Hi, my name is River when I was 11 months old my life was taken in a real bad car wreck. I had just learned to walk and I was 2 weeks away from my first birthday when I lost my life. I tried so hard to live because I could hear my mommy and daddy crying and telling me to please stay with them. My little body was just too weak, and now I live with Jesus.

Do you realize?

James H. Jones, the man who caused the death of River, River's 12 year old cousin Breanna and their grandmother Sady never meant to harm anyone.He was not a drunk driver, he was not using drugs and he had no loaded gun. He did, however, suffer form a heart condition and passed out behind the wheel of his automobile killing these 3 innocent people. Mr. Jones was not harmed in this accident but when his family told him he had killed a grandmother and her 2 grandbabies he died of a heart attack. ( It don't have to be this way )Many people each year suffer from a host of medical problems, heart diseases ,diabetes, epilepsy seizures and others that causes them to pass out or lose consciousness. They could easily pass out behind the wheel of their automobile, as I have to live with for the rest of my life, and I'm sure there are a lot of you out there that live with the same pain we have. We are fighting to get a new law passed, River's Law. If this law is passed it will keep those with known medical conditions that causes them to lose consciousness from getting behind the wheel of an automobile.

I hope you have an open mind and can see where the River's Law can, and will save lives.........I do realize 99% of us, have some kind of medical problem and we live our lives without being a threat to ourselves or others, but there are a lot of people who has medical problems that is deadly to us ,our children, and our families. The man who caused these deaths, James H. Jones suffered from a heart problem and was (known), to black out and lose consciousness often. If he had survived this accident he would have been right back out there on the roads with your children/families. ((How do I know this?)) Because 2 months before this accident, he killed a man in the same way, passed out while driving his car. I understand, people have their rights, but do they have a right to kill, and keep killing? Our goal is to stop ((only)), the people with medical problems that causes them to lose controll, and are known to do so. We're not only talking about heart diseases, there are epilepsy and diabetes, along with others, which causes people to have seizures and lose controll.......... I am only 1 person, and I ask myself why do I care? Why am I working so hard to save you and your children, for I have lost mine. I'm in for the fight of my life and I know all the giants will come in and try to close the door on River's Law., and they might close this door. But if you stand with me, we can move a mountain........God bless you.

DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S YOUR FAMILY WHO IS GRIEVING.

"VOTE YES, TO THE RIVER'S LAW AND SAVE A LIFE. "

"The Tiny Prayer"
Hello.......Goodbye?
Oh Mommy, Daddy,
please don't cry.
you and I just barely met
and no,
I don't want to let go yet.
Their telling me I'll see you on the other side.
As you hold my tiny hand in yours,
I know it's the hardest thing you ever had to face.
Knowing the angels,
in all their grace,
are here to take me to a better place.
Hello....Goodbye?
So heaven has called me,
before it called you,
that was just meant be.
When I get there I'll save a place for you,
a place where we can share a little smile,
and you can hold me for more than just a while.................

If you agree with this please sign and pass it on to all of your friends and send a copy of it to your federal representitive in the government. So that they will know how the people feel about this and maybe with god's help and all of our supporters as well it will become a law ( RIVERS LAW) Here are two links to help you find your representitive both in the house of representitives and in the senate.

http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html
http://www.senate.gov/senators/index.cfm

ANY QUESTION'S OR COMMENT'S PLEASE E-MAIL THEM TO pmonti4@yahoo.com

PLEASE SIGN HERE TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT..
THANK YOU!!!!!!

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

According to police and news reports, on the morning of July 20th, 2001, after passing out twice during breakfast at Courson's Kitchen in Hazlehurst Georgia, James Harvey Jones got behind the wheel of his 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis and headed toward Georgia State Route 135. Despite several offers of rides from patrons and workers at the diner, Jones - who had a heart condition that caused him to pass out frequently and unexpectedly - insisted he was well enough to drive.

He had not gotten far when he passed out at the wheel and collided with a car driven by Sady Pool. The accident killed Pool and her two grandchildren, Breanna Roddenberry (age 12) and River Jade Hamm (age 11 1/2 months). Jones was unhurt.

James Harvey Jones had reportedly killed a man 2 months earlier the same way, but no action was taken to suspend his license before the fateful events of July 20. Mr. Jones died shortly after of a heart attack.

Fast forward to January 2002, when Patricia Ann Thompson - River's Surviving Grandmother - mounts an ambitious online campaign to muster support for "River's Law," a proposition to keep people who are known to pass out or lose consciousness due to a medical condition from behind the wheel. Eager to drum up as much support as possible, Thompson posted urgent links to her web site on as many Yahoo! groups as she could.

"I'm just trying to get the River's Law into as many minds as i can for now," Thompson told me. "I wanted to see how people responded. So far the feedback is all for the River's Law. When I get enough people behind me, I will present River's Law to congress."

Pat Thompson's cause is noble, but not likely to achieve its goal. According to Heartcenter Online, A study conducted at the University of Rochester and published in the August 9, 2001 New England Journal of Medicine found that "Patients being treated for a life- threatening heartbeat irregularity are no more likely to cause car accidents than drivers in general." A similar survey concluded that "Patients who had survived a life-threatening heart rhythm actually reported fewer car accidents than the national average."

Given this data, it's very unlikely legislatures would enact a law to "keep those who have known medical conditions that causes them to lose consciousness from getting behind the wheel of a automobile." Even if they did, it would be nearly impossible to enforce because the medical community would likely stand behind doctor-patient privilege. In addition, the powerful lobby of the American Civil Liberties Union would attack such a measure in Congress.

When I originally spoke to Thompson, she said all she wanted was letters of support. She did not plan on using petitions to promote her cause. Unfortunately, just three months later, River's Law crossed the line into Armchair Activism.

Break the Chain recommends against signing any e-mail petition. There are no privacy controls, no way to control their spread and no way ensure they achieve their goal. If you wish to support her cause, visit her page and sign her guestbook. But do not propagate this petition. Break this Chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: None

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