Before Richland High student Sierra Rose Murray was hit by a car while crossing a street near her school, she wanted to be a teacher.
Today, an entire community is heartbroken to know that the ebullient 16-year-old will never have a classroom of her own. But her tragic death provides a lesson we all should take to heart.
Police say it appears the driver and pedestrian failed to see each other on that evening; they don't know the reason.
A streetlight was out at that spot. Sierra Rose was wearing dark clothing and a set of earphones. Whether any of that contributed to the accident may never be known, and we don't see anything to be gained from speculation.
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But other lives can be saved nonetheless. If we take responsibility for the safety of ourselves and others, accidents will be avoided.
For starters, we should report any safety hazards we witness in our daily travels. A darkened streetlight, missing stop sign, overgrowth obscuring visibility at an intersection -- whatever the problem, don't assume someone else will take care of it. Take a minute and make a call.
Public safety is already a top priority for government workers, so a quick response is assumed. But it can't hurt for all to be reminded why complacency is unacceptable. You never know when a life might depend on prompt action.
Make sure that you, and those around us, are following basic safety rules -- be aware of your surroundings, wear your bike helmet, buckle up, strap on your life preserver, drive defensively.
It's a dangerous world. Let's take care of each other.