Summer officially starts this coming Monday evening. Here, finals and Regents testing is almost over, the class of 2016 is gearing up for graduation and the ensuing parties, plans for summer vacations, summer jobs….
And locally, the Class of 2018 is already down by one. My heart breaks for the family of the 16 year old girl who lost her life last night just a few blocks from my house. We heard sirens, the Kidling and I. Thought it was another house fire, or maybe another motorcycle accident….there have been so many of them recently. But this time, it was a teen-aged girl trying to cross 787 to get home, just like most Islanders have to do at some point or another. When they originally extended 787 , I was one of many voices that said the crossing times were not long enough. THIRTY YEARS AGO, we said this. We timed other comparable crossings all around the area, and presented what we found at a meeting with the State. Result? We got an extra FIVE seconds on the crossing. When the State redid these crossings, the request was made for a pedestrian bridge. We were told it wouldn’t be cost-effective, nor did the free space exist. Well, three deaths too many later…the State needs to step up to the plate. This latest death has hit hard, because of her age. She was just finishing her sophomore year. Kidling didn’t know her, except to recognize her face in passing in the hallways at school. And the fact this newest addition to the ranks of angels was a year younger, which does bother my daughter. She hates it when someone who should have had as much of a future, if not more, than she, is lost.
And Florida had a REALLY bad weekend. 49 people out for dancing and drinks and fun, shot dead by one whacked-out S.O.B. who never got the concept of “live and let live” or TOLERANCE.
Then there was the 2 year old who died due to drowning and trauma when he was pulled into a lagoon by an alligator. I understand his parents’ hearts are breaking now. NO ONE should ever have to bury their own child. But blaming the alligator for being the apex predator it is, or blaming Disney for not posting “alligator” warnings…. no, that doesn’t work for me. Why? Because if you are going to visit ANYPLACE so different from your own home turf, you need to educate yourself on the area before you go. Florida, where 95% of fresh water, INCLUDING SWIMMING POOLS, can and usually do have gators in or close by. I am not really blaming his parents, either. We’ve become a society where we tend to not think about such things. It’s Disney’s property, so the general idea is Disney should have either gotten rid of the gators, or posted specific warnings. If specific warnings about gators were posted everywhere in Florida where they are ‘needed’, I doubt you’d be able to go ten yards between the signs.
There are times I wish I was rich enough to buy a mountain, and turn hermit.