Auntie Says: Even good kids make mistakes

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan

His name was Carson Crimeni and he was only 14 years old. The young man who, while at a skateboard park, allegedly ingested some substance that ultimately took his life as bystanders watched, laughed and videoed the incident.

Later, postings on social media of the unfolding scenes alerted the public and police but it was too late.

As I shake my head at the tragedy of it all I’m reminded that things like this happen in the blink of an eye—a brief moment in time and we have to ask why? Why is this sort of stuff happening? Is it a sign of the times? Bad kids?

All I know is that hearts are broken, a child is needlessly dead, and other children are forever changed.

Let’s face it, kids don’t always remember the lessons taught to them by parents, caregivers, and teachers as they’re faced with stressful situations. We as parents or influential adults in kids lives need to constantly remind them that walking away is always the best choice.

When I think of the situation that Carson found himself in, I can’t imagine the torturous decision-making process he was forced to go through. By all accounts, I’ve read that Carson was a good kid who liked to cook and play video games. The notion of him allegedly being challenged by his peers to do something stupid like swallow pills is nothing but a nightmare. The fear, the invincibility, and the pressure staring him in the face along with all the kids hanging around watching, waiting to see what was going to happen.

A kid wants to be cool. A kid wants to be accepted. A kid doesn’t think they’re going to die.

As they lay young Carson to rest this week my thoughts are with his family and friends who’ve been robbed of a lifetime of memories. My thoughts are also on the fact that things could’ve been so different if just one kid ran to get help.

I think it’s nearly impossible to hear this story and not wonder what was going on in the minds of the other young people who did nothing to help another person in distress. What’s wrong with this picture?

If a kid has any empathy at all, there’s always that little itchy thought that peeks around the corner of the brain—the one that says this shouldn’t be happening—this is wrong. The thing is that the little itch runs around the other side of the brain too and says phew, thank God it’s not happening to me.

That struggle between the two is difficult to bring together because they serve opposite sides of the fight.

During the incident where Carson ingested a foreign substance, I’m sure there would’ve been at least one kid wriggling in their own skin wishing they were anywhere but at the skate park. But still, no one ran to get help. No one stepped up. No one screamed bloody murder to interrupt or disrupt the situation.

It’s been drilled into these kids through school programs, at home, and/or by public announcements, to run, go get help, don’t follow the crowd and to ignore the bullies but real life isn’t that easy. They’re not thinking about the bystander laws that protect them if they tell, and they’re not considering future consequences as they’re swept up in the mob/group mentality of ignorance and cruelty. It becomes a situation where an individual is just relieved not to be the centre of attention and plummets into an avalanche of negativity and ugliness that they feel compelled to follow. This is not an excuse or an explanation but human nature.

Time will tell as the police investigation moves forward. But the harm is done, the perpetrators scattered, and a family left to mourn.

Tell your kid flat out if that little itch tells them to get out, then turn and run—period. Don’t look back, don’t stop—run for help. That itch is like a tap on the shoulder that can save a life.

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan. She can be found online; Twitter: @Faye_E_Arcand; FaceBook: Faye.E.Arcand; Instagram: Faye.Arcand

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