Editorial: Message one of personal choice, safety

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Thank goodness it didn’t really happen.

But it could have. All it takes is one person who drinks, gets under the influence of that alcohol, and gets behind the wheel.

We applaud all those involved with the &uot;Every 15 Minutes&uot; program at Albert Lea High School Monday and Tuesday. From the high school student volunteers and staff to their families, emergency and law enforcement personnel and businesses, an incredible amount of time was put into planning the event.

Email newsletter signup

For all those emergency units to be on hand was a huge time commitment and undertaking. It just goes to show how great a value local professionals place on our young people’s safety.

While many knew the event wasn’t real, it was treated realistically. From the 26 &uot;victims,&uot; several were taken by hearse to funeral homes, airlifted by helicopter to a major medical center, or hauled away in a squad car for processing at the police station. It doesn’t get more realistic than that. The students who chose to &uot;die&uot; were sequestered from family and friends to further emphasize the loss.

Students were able to see the destruction that errors in judgment can cause. And hopefully these images will go with the young people as they get behind the wheel this weekend during prom, and in upcoming weeks as graduation celebrations begin.

We also hope the events that transpired open avenues for increased parent-student discussion, especially in light of the speakers who shared their stories of losing a child to a drunk driver, and being the drunk driver responsible for causing the death of another.

The message all comes down to personal responsibility and the realization that things like this really can &045; and unfortunately do &045; happen.