A letter by Kathy Allen in the Jan. 13 edition of the Morning Sentinel (“Vehicles are not toys, but powerful machines”) got me to thinking.

I can appreciate the concern Allen must feel, and I understand she is trying to do good by giving us young adults a reminder about the dangers of utilizing a motor vehicle.

Alas, as a 29-year-old who knew a certain 20-something, I’d like to let fellow readers see the young woman to have been a highly intelligent, hard working, positive and sympathetic individual. I feel, rather than a toy, she likely thought of her car as a tool and necessity to live, as most of us do in rural Maine.

In regards to the high school students, unfortunately, they made a poor choice on top of a poor choice. Young people’s inclination and temptation toward alcohol abuse, and anyone driving after drinking, are big problems. We should be putting the responsibility directly in our society’s lap to remedy these.

Instead of scolding the ignorance of today’s youth, shouldn’t we find ways to teach each other carefulness and gratitude beyond age limits?

We were all young once and, we all make hard mistakes. Let us feel deep sympathy for our community’s loss of wonderful young lives. We need to express our love, compassion and forgiveness toward the recently departed and their grieving people.

Do your best to pass on hugs and good wishes to your dear ones whenever you see them. In so doing, we will follow the example of a strong, darling young woman, who has accidentally left us and is missed by the many people she hugged.

Erin Gallagher

New Vineyard

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