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Cameron Vennard: A Life, Not a 'Life Lesson'

The following is a Letter to the Editor from Annabel Dolan, who graduated with Cameron Vennard from Nipher Middle School.

On all the news sites, when you see articles about , all the comments talk about lessons to be learned, and how kids should pay more attention, and that parents need to teach their kids to be smarter about electronics and common sense. Do you really think this is what we want to be hearing right now?

Our community of peers and friends has lost someone extremely dear to our hearts, and instead of sharing in our grief, adults around us use this as a time to scold teenagers. No one is to blame for what happened. It was a tragic accident. Could it have been prevented? Possibly, but not in the sense that good life lessons should be learned.

Just in his death, my friends and I were given a striking reminder of what we were taught in elementary school but hasn't been discussed since then, that walking the tracks, although a part of our life, is extremely dangerous. We know that.

Right now, as the news is really beginning to sink in, we want a chance to grieve and remember all the good things in Cam's life, not the one thing the media is focused on. It’s extremely upsetting to me that just days after losing someone who was a friend to all of us, and at such a young age, he, and in turn we, are being reprimanded. Please, just let Cam, his memory, and all his mourners, rest in peace.

Letter submitted by Annabel Dolan, who graduated with Cameron Vennard from Nipher Middle School.

Claire Visnovske June 04, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Annabel, You are so brave for speaking your mind. I've heard of a lot of adults saying "That's why you dont walk on the tracks." and I say Adults you don"t listen to us well enough. They need to leave us alone. " You only Live Once" and that's what Cam did.
Cyndi Sullivan June 04, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Annabel, I am so proud of you for writing this. Even though I didn't know Cam at school, what I have seen and read from you and your classmates has been a wonderful tribute. I am thinking of you all.
Kathy Collier Paul June 05, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Well said Annabel. As an adult I have often thought the same thing when listening to news of a tragedy and they report how long people sat in traffic because of a deadly accident. Who cares? It was someone's life they should be talking about, not the inconvenience their death caused. Perhaps your courage will teach all news outlets a lesson to report with compassion. Know that you have been heard and I am sad for the loss of Cam.
Kath June 05, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Annabel, your Dad shared this link and I had to comment. In fact I told him this story this morning in his office. Years back in the 8th grade a good friend from school, Jeff Smith who was 13 at the time, was jumping moving trains in back home Buffalo NY where I am from. It was cool back then to do that. He was out on a gray Saturday afternoon in February, rainy, cold, you know those kinda days. He misjudged the jump and was killed. Just like now most adults weighed in on it with the coulda, shoulda, woulda totally missing the point of the sorrow and impact at his loss to his family and friends. I paid no attention then and even now...Jeff will always be remembered by me..Cam will always be remembered by you. Stay strong, trust God and his plan...always remember Cam...just sayin...
Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea January 07, 2013 at 08:16 PM
How incredibly moving. Beautifully written, Annabel, and so relevant, what with all that is going on in the world. Allowing ourselves to grieve the loss of our loved ones before taking action can help us to think more clearly when the time comes to address the issues that involve the community. How wise of you to know that in your youth, and how brave of you to speak out against the unnecessary white-noise. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all who were close to Cam.

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