The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be happy and joyous as we collectively attempt to unwind at year’s end and enjoy the most significant of Christian holidays followed by the fresh start that a new year brings.
But this year Thanksgiving was barely a memory before tragedy struck in our community with the tragic and senseless death of a 15-year-old student from North Forsyth.
“Tragic” and “sensesless” are the clichéd words that always seem to be used in such circumstances. And while neither seems adequate, where do you find words to validate the emotions felt at the unnecessary loss of life by one so young?
While the cause of Trey Scott Spencer’s death has not been officially determined by authorities, there is ample evidence to suggest that the abuse of drugs and alcohol were factors. Another youngster with whom Spencer spent his final hours has admitted as much.
As individuals, we want to reach out in compassion and sympathy to the family and friends left devastated by Spencer’s death.
As a community, we have to ask ourselves what we can do to lessen the likelihood of such an incident happening again.
It is impossible not to acknowledge that alcohol and drugs are problems for many young people in the county. Too often we tend to accept chemical abuse as simply “kids being kids,” assuming they will learn to cope with the seductive nature of “partying” as they grow older and more mature.
Except, as last week’s tragedy so harshly reminds, some don’t get the chance to grow older.
There is a lot to be said for the oft-repeated philosophy that “it takes a village to raise a child.”
Being part of that village means looking out not only for your own children, but those of others. It means being involved. It means reporting illicit behavior to parents and authorities. It means not turning a blind eye because it’s “not my problem.”
It is our problem: A massive problem that won’t go away just because we want it to.
We can’t just depend on law enforcement or school officials to deal with the issue. We have to be involved as well.
If any good can come of the death of Trey Scott Spencer, it has to be that the rest of us become more concerned about the other youngsters in our midst. Maybe one death can help to save the lives of others.
It will truly be “tragic and needless” if such heart-wrenching circumstances don’t serve as a wakeup call for parents and children alike.