My Sobering Thoughts Following Tragedy At Thacher Park
I don't know many facts about Dylan Dunney the young man from Guilderland who was drinking and fell after he crossed the barrier of the overlook at Thacher Park yesterday. I do know this: he's 19, from Guilderland, was doing some underage drinking, trespassing, made a horrible choice and almost died as a result of it. As Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple announced on twitter Saturday morning that Dunney was about to be air-lifted to Albany Medical Center in critical condition I thought about a lot of things. I thought about his friends, his family, his siblings and all the people who were living a nightmare waking up to news that someone they loved was in critical condition. I also thought about all the times that when I was his age, young and of course feeling invincible, my collection of friends and I did some pretty reckless and stupid things.
Back before we could legally drink, my buddies and I made fake ID's and bought alcohol at a corner liquor store and made our way around the Capital Region looking for a place to discreetly (and sometimes rowdily) get our party on. We even made it up to Thacher Park on more than one occasion, stayed most of the night in a park that was closed, and waited for the sun to rise. The same spot that nearly cost 19-year-old Dylan Dunney his life.
We also climbed dangerous rooftops of local high schools, snuck into people's backyards, hopped in other people's pools, and drove way too fast down windy roads; things that make me cringe today just thinking about. A lot of these times, alcohol wasn't even involved, we were just bored and thought it was funny. We were young, dumb, and even though our parents taught us better, we didn't listen.
I'm not proud about these careless and irresponsible choices I made when I was teenager 25 plus years ago. I'm thankful. Thankful that nothing horrific or tragic happened to me or my friends. We were actually pretty lucky. Back when I did those stupid things, there were no cell phones to call 911 and no 'cell pings' if God-forbid one of got lost or trapped.
I don't know Dylan Dunney, but I'm thinking about him and his friend who joined him. I hope that he makes a full recovery, realizes his errant ways and uses this as an opportunity to warn young people of the dangers of underage drinking and how actions have consequences.
Hopefully, they'll listen.