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Our Opiniong: Grad nights

June 15, 2001

One beer, one joint or one stupid prank can ruin the lives of young people.

That is what young people graduating from high school need to remember and need to be reminded of by adults and contemporaries as they celebrate graduating from high school this week.

That beer or joint, they should be told, might be the one that takes you over the edge, makes you throw that punch, makes you crash your car or compels you to take the risk of doing something truly idiotic. The result could be serious injury, maiming or death.

We report on such tragedies during graduation seasons here at the Press. It doesn't make us happy to do so, to see young lives ruined. We hope this year there is no need for such stories in the newspaper.

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Yet we have to be realistic. This is a time of celebration, a time of release. As much as we will preach to our young people that they should abstain from drugs and alcohol during graduation celebrations, many will not. Realistically, for some such young people we might be better to preach moderation or, since many teens don't know the meaning of moderation, simply refraining from absolute lunacy.

Actions such as Operation Turnaround, in which our local law enforcement will not allow those under age 18 into Mexicali without notarized approval from their parents, may help prevent tragedies from occurring. Our local hot spot for over-the-line behavior is Mexicali (and sometimes San Felipe) and keeping those who are not legally allowed to cross the border from going to Mexicali nightspots seems a good idea on weekends where wildness is commonplace.

And not all such ill-conceived behavior is chemically induced. Some young people just think this is the time in their lives to cathartically cut loose, so they do just that. That would not be so bad if so many young people were not convinced they are invincible. Sometimes nothing short of a wheelchair convinces them they are not.

It is our job as responsible adults to help protect such young people from themselves, but it essentially is up to them. We can load them with threats and information and warnings and tales of woe. But what it comes down to is that the graduates have some common sense. And with that all we can do is hope.

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