Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Teens: the years of living dangerously

Thrills kill: more than 75% teen deaths result from thrill-seeking

It’s more dangerous to be a teenager today than any decade since the sixties. It’s an alarming fact that adolescence is the only age group in which the death-rate has risen since 1960. It comes down to the fact that teenagers are a reckless species. Young thrill seekers are increasingly seeking out new and potentially harmful experiences.  For instance in the US alone, more than 16,000 young people die each year from accidents. 

 I have witnessed the distress of more than a dozen families whose child died as a result of their own reckless behavior. You see for twelve months I worked as a funeral director. Some of those deaths were due to extreme sports, drugs and alcohol but by far and away the majority resulted from reckless driving.

Inexperienced and imprudent, teenagers are the rashest and fastest drivers on the roads. And their wild behavior intensifies when they are with their friends.It is easy for them to get carried away because driving is a new and exciting experience for them. All too often it is their final experience.

 It’s hard to find anything positive in the death of young person but you’d like to hope that the death of a friend might serve as a lesson, albeit a harsh one.  And yet after listening to grief-stricken family members speak at the funeral of the needless waste of life and watching the coffin lowered into the grave, many teenagers continue to drive as if they are indestructible.

 I wrote about five teenagers who embarked on a wild joy ride that ended in tragedy in The Biocide Conspiracy. The bereaved families decided on a combined service and at the end of the ceremony the coffins were carried from the church to the words of Nirvana’s greatest song: 

Forever young, I want to be forever young.
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?

Only one youth survives. He turns his life around and makes his family proud. One wonders what the teenagers whose lives are prematurely snuffed out might also have achieved.

Ann Massey
Author of:
The White Amah, a mystery set against the backdrop of the timber logging industry in Malaysia. Sample or purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456578065
The Biocide Conspiracy, a Young Adult thriller that sweeps readers into the world of biowarfare. Sample or purchase; http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456503367

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