Across The Universe: Learning from recent examples of youth conduct (opinion)
Kids will be kids, as the saying goes.
It all sounds rather harmless in the context of a young’n (as I’m told they once were called) pulling the classic “I’ll get into paint and smear it all over the house” routine, or teenagers sneaking out of the house to hang with friends after bed-time.
I did my fair share of mischief between the ages of, well, I suppose 2 and 18 growing up. But it was all, for the most part, fairly tame.
Recently, both on a national scale and locally, however, we’ve seen incidents of a much more severe nature that have set the social media world ablaze with emotion.
First, there’s the well-known story of Harambe, the just-turned-17-year-old gorilla who was shot and killed after a 3-year-old boy fell into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The May 28 incident created a deluge of opinions on the matter, many dripping with hatred toward the zoo’s decision to shoot the animal, and/or at the parents of the boy at fault for not properly keeping an eye on him in a public place.
Two days later, and bringing things local, we reported on how an 11-year-old Truckee boy was arrested and charged with arson after police said he intentionally started at least two brush fires within town limits.
As the 9-year anniversary of the Angora Fire at South Tahoe looms this summer, we all know the dangers even a spark can grow into here. To learn that an 11-year-old was allegedly the cause of potential disaster, it certainly made me feel uneasy.
Then, just this past weekend, we had the tragic incident involving the death of two Reno teenagers — and the serious injuries to two others — after a scary wreck on Highway 267 near Martis Valley.
I followed the social posts from CHP-Truckee Friday night (and the resulting commentary into this week from scared and angry locals), and followed up to get the unfortunate details Monday morning, all centering on a 15-year-old boy who apparently made a very poor and illegal choice.
While these three incidents are drastically different in age and circumstance, they all beg the same question: Could they have been prevented?
Myself, I have no children. But I have plenty of friends and family who do. It’s my belief that, yes, kids will be kids — and sometimes, no matter how good a role model you are, things just happen.
It’s how we learn from them that’s important.
Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.