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    I cannot attest to the accuracy of this article. Yes, you can call it an “alternative factual story” if you wish, but it does reflect to the best of my knowledge what transpired one day, sometime in the early aughts.

     Once upon a time, an “alleged perp” stole a can of soda from a 7 Eleven. A patrol car was nearby and as the car fled the convenience store parking lot, an officer took chase. (I don’t recall if it was OPD or OCSO.) The vehicles headed west on State Route 50, a four lane highway with a median lane for turning. On the west side of town, where it goes through Ocoee toward Lake County, there are a few rolling hills that completely obscure traffic from either direction. At over 100 mph, the perp’s car swerved into oncoming traffic at the crest of a hill and hit a lone vehicle head on. An innocent woman minding her own business was killed instantly. I don’t recall if the perp survived or not. This occurred in the wee hours of the morning. Ironically, the woman was on her way to work as a police dispatcher and the tragedy became big news in the Orlando area, where people formulated strong opinions over it – to give chase or not. She was a young mother with several children.

     A couple of days later, I was hanging around my favorite watering hole, Spatz, in Winter Park, when an old buddy came in. Mike’s a great guy and after a few minutes of banter among friends, he asked me a question. “Dave? What do you think about that accident on west 50?”

    I had a feeling he was going to prod. “Personally, I feel terrible about it. There’s no way I would agree with a chase like that over 12-ounces of carbonated liquid containing 10 teaspoons of sugar. A young mother died! Is a life worth a can of soda?”

    He responded, “I knew you were going to say that.”

    You see, Mike’s perception of me was that I was a bleeding heart liberal. I’m not. I’m more of a middle-of-the-road kind of guy, and I have a right to my opinions that range from one end of the gamut to the other depending on many complex factors. In the accident case, what’s liberal or conservative about it? Why label it as such? I value a human life over a $1.00 theft. What’s the big deal? This had nothing to do with religion. This had nothing to do with philosophy. This had nothing to do with politics. It was where my moral compass pointed on this particular issue and how I believed policy was in need of an instant overhaul.

    What makes people brand others as friend or foe, right or wrong, and black or white on the issues with no shades of color in between? No, I don’t mean skin color.

    Just so you know, I am a law & order kind of guy, but I don’t agree with everything. In this case, the victim’s death changed the way police were allowed to pursue. No longer would they be able to over simple thefts. Common sense prevailed, not politics.

    “Damn liberals.”