Tragedy begets good?

It isn’t often that good can come from tragedy. And it’s almost impossible to imagine the death of a child can promote something positive.
But I’d like to see it.
A few weeks ago, a child walking home from Callicoon was struck by a car and killed. It was tragic – no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Despite the rumors, the police have confirmed he was obeying all traffic laws. His skateboard was tucked beneath his arm. He was walking against traffic.
That doesn’t lessen the tragedy. Nothing can.
But this was a child who lived to skateboard. He was like hundreds of thousands of kids across America – some good kids, some bad kids, some little kids, some not-so-little kids.
And rumors which turned out to be false highlighted one thing about Callicoon and hundreds of thousands of communities in America – they’re places where skateboarding kids have been painted with a broad brush and treated to a cold shoulder.
There are kids who skateboard who are bad news – no question.
There are kids who play basketball who are bad news too. And kids who like to kick a ball around. And kids who like to throw the pigskin.
And, hey, if you want to get right down to it, there are some pretty awful kids who are lazy lay-abouts.
But wait, you say, there are good kids who do some of those things, right?
After all, we build basketball courts to keep kids off the streets. We line football fields and put together soccer teams.
There are plenty of good kids. And there are good kids who skateboard too.
There are kids who work their tails off to learn to ollie and nosegrind, kids who spend every waking moment from dawn ‘til dusk falling off that board only to get back up, dust themselves off, and try again.
And while, as a parent, my first thought at the death of a child went to his family, my second went to the skate park in Callicoon.
Oh no, I thought, when I was still operating on rumors. Please tell me they won’t close that place.
Because kids who don’t have an outlet are some of the worst kids I know. They’re frustrated. They’re angry. And they cause trouble.
They do stupid things, like skating in the street, and getting some air doing a 180 off a guardrail in a private parking lot.
There are stupid kids. And then there are kids who are just kids, kids who want to do something good. They just need our help.
The obituary for a child asks for donations in his name to the local skate park. Is this the way to bring good from a tragedy?
We’ll only know if we try.

Speak Your Mind

*