Our Opinion

The arrival of summer in Lake Oswego and throughout the metro area is welcome in most respects, but it also ushers in a heightened period of danger for our community’s young people.

Each summer, the newspapers in the Pamplin Media Group are forced to report on tragedies involving teenagers and young adults who give too little thought to the consequences of innocent but careless actions. Warm weather multiplies the hazards for young people, who are drawn to rivers, lakes and the open road.

With time on their hands, teenagers in particular are more likely to take risks that can have lifelong — or deadly — consequences. Sadly, a single mistake — such as jumping into the deep waters at High Rocks, drinking alcohol while floating down the Sandy River without a life jacket or texting a friend while driving — can end a life or alter it forever.

A sad reality is that not only young people are at risk here. A man in his early 60s, swimming in the Clackamas River below High Rocks, drowned Monday.

Parents cannot change the impulsiveness of youth, but they should nonetheless impress upon their children what irreversible harm can come from a brief moment of recklessness. They also can help their children find safer activities. This community, for example, has several public places in Oswego Lake (one through the city, one through the school district) where young people can cool off without risking their lives in the swift currents of a river or other unprotected lake waters.

Alcohol and drugs accelerate the dangers facing young people in the summer. Intoxicating substances pose their own hazards, of course, including overdose and addiction. But these substances also alter a person’s judgment, which in turn leads to poor decisions and potential tragedy.

The staff of the Lake Oswego Review would like nothing more than to make this a summer when we do not have to report on the accidental death or serious injury of a young person. As summer weather takes hold, however, the exuberance and spontaneity of youth will increase.

That makes this an especially important time for parents to remind their children of the dangers of roadways, lakes and rivers — and of the inherent hazards that arise from youthful distractions.

Be safe out there, you are important to the community.

Contract Publishing

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