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Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 • Posted November 10, 2011

Dear Editor,

Seize this moment…

My heart is heavy as my mind searches for some sort of positive to come out of the recent tragedy that has washed over the community of Johnson City and outward throughout the surrounding areas.

I was driving to pick up my daughter from a weekend stay in a nearby town when a dialogue started playing in my mind. She is at the tender age of 13 and the news of this event has shaken her as well. On our way home I began to talk to her, asking her questions about the event. I explained the scenario and asked her, ‘What could these kids have done differently?’. She thought a moment and spoke an answer, then another and another, but the one answer, the one that should have been the first thought in her mind, is the one she never said. I was discouraged. She never thought about calling home and asking for a ride from her parents. So therein, I knew my mission.

I was really taken aback by this revelation. Were we that far out of touch that she didn’t feel it was an option to call home? Of course there may be implications, but nothing like the alternative. I seized this opportunity to really dive into the subject. We talked more about the choices that were made versus what were available. We talked about abstinence, we talked about moderation and we talked about the legality and how one’s future is affected by these choices.

Parents, grandparents, guardians and friends… we know that underage drinking is taking place. Educate your children, inform them, and let them know there are options. Let them know that we care and love them and want to protect them and keep them safe. We are a community, come together as one to teach our youth. This is a devastating and sad time for our youth, guide them through this event, but keep it fresh and teach them. Let it be a revolving memory in their minds; we can learn and grow from this.

Think of it this way... if you have a pool in your backyard, you can tell your child not to go in the water but eventually they will. Don’t you think you should at least teach them to swim?

Suree Birck

Johnson City, TX

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