Re: Alex Terral tragedy

Dear Editor:Exactly what happened last June that ended in the death of Alex may never be publicly known. Urban legend is there was another car racing with Dustin. Those involved have kept that secret from being legally actionable. Nothing I can say will relieve the pain of the survivors of Alex. It is said that the worst thing a parent can experience is having a child precede them in death. Of this I have little doubt and pray I will not find for myself the depths of that pain.There are clinical studies that “prove” that the last part of the brain that develops is that which makes rational decisions about issues that affect our future. Regardless of how smart one is, youths make snap decisions without projecting the possible consequences of those actions. This is what happened on that tragic night last June to Alex, Dustin and the others involved in the incident. To them it was a joy ride. Everyone involved made mistakes. Alex was not wearing a seat belt. Dustin was not driving in a reasonable and safe manner. I have no doubt in my mind that Dustin would never have driven the way he did if he knew in advance what was going to happen. Dustin, I am certain, did not want Alex to die. Nobody did. In Mr. Terral’s letter (Aspen Times, May 25) there is an underlying current of anger that can only logically be the result of him holding Dustin responsible for knowingly causing the death of Alex. I think the simple truth is that all involved that night made a decision no rational and developed mind would have made. Their brains were not developed to the point that would have helped them prevent the terrible outcome.Would sending Dustin to prison for X number of years undo anything? The only thing prison would do for Dustin is to punish him for irrational behavior. If that is what the legal system and society decides is the appropriate action and it would serve some good, then send him away. I think the only thing good that may come from the tragedy is to prevent similar ones from occurring again. I do not believe that prison sentences are a deterrent. If punishment of one person prevented another from committing a crime the death penalty would have ended murders centuries ago. Let everyone who knew and loved Alex remember what happened to him if they are in a car and the driver starts to put their lives at risk. Have the guts and fortitude to tell the driver to slow down or to stop and let you out. Always wear your seat belt. It takes great strength to protect yourself. The pain this community suffers when one of its beloved youths dies is too much to be repeated often. To the Terral family, I send my prayers and hopes that peace will find its way into their hearts.Ward HauensteinAspen