It’s a grim duty to report a death, as I did this Monday (August 17).
I’ve worked as a professional writer in various capacities, mostly as a journalist, for going on 15 years. I have seen my fair share of ended lives, cut down long before any of us feel they should.
In recent weeks, my colleagues at Black Press and I have reported a number of drownings, and looking back on recent years, it was pointed out to me that there’s a disproportionate amount of young men who drown; this week’s drowning may be a young person as well.
I then take a look at what’s happening on the COVID-19 front, and it seems, again, a disproportionate amount of young people are getting ill due to behaviour that would have been normal prior to the pandemic but what is rightfully seen as reckless and short-sighted now.
I’m not going to use my short time on the soapbox to berate the young. I think a lot of that sort of talk comes from older folks forgetting who they used to be and it’s largely unproductive. If you find yourself scoffing at the young for no other reason than they’re young, it might be time to let that anger go. It no longer serves you and it’s an awful look for anyone.
Instead, let’s briefly seek to understand. We’ve all undergone a time in our lives where we felt our health was going to last forever. Some expressed that through sports (extreme or otherwise), others indulged in alcohol, bad food, unprotected sex and staying up till all hours, and some among us took darker paths involving drugs and worse.
Couple this sense of invincibility with the lockdown fatigue and cabin fever we’re all experiencing now, and it’s a nigh-inevitable recipe for disaster. I think we’ve all seen that clip going around online of a young man on spring break saying “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”
While this unfortunate commentary acts as an avatar of young foolishness, it should be noted that Brady Sluder, 22 at the time of his comment, has since apologized for his reckless attitude and by all accounts appears to have changed his ways.
Our present upward and concerning coronavirus course can be reversed. We’ve flattened one curve. We can and we will do it again. Men, women, all others of all ages, continue to wear your masks if you can’t physically distance, wash your hands and limit going out whenever possible. I don’t know when this is going to end, but the longer we can keep to the rules set forth by medical professionals who did not get their degrees at Facebook University or YouTube School of Medical Science, the better.
Dr. Henry’s orders are also mine: Be kind, be calm and be safe.
I don’t know the family of the most recent drowning victim of Harrison Lake as I’m writing this out on Monday. It breaks my heart, and the community grieves with you, whoever you may be. May you find peace and healing.
Young people, you have the power and frankly the duty to change the world for the better. I wholeheartedly believe in the possibilities of upward momentum as a society, and sooner than you think, you’ll be in the metaphorical driver’s seat. Your potential is only limited by your imagination, but know this – in order to reach the best you can be, you need to protect yourselves and each other starting now. Death, injury, certain prevalent health conditions, all of it is preventable to some degree, and it all starts with being responsible and safe.
Even if the road ahead is long and foggy, we are on our way out of this harrowing time in our history. Take care of yourselves, not just for you, but for everyone.
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