It’s been a tough — make that awful — year. The horrible Newtown shootings seemed to follow months of a painful drip-drip-drip of bad news, stupid decisions, young lives lost.


2012 has been “like a body blow ” to the town, Selectwoman Di Masters said recently.

Let’s not make it worse with some New Year’s Eve tragedy.

Gathering to reflect on the past and set sights on the future, Ridgefield as a community will join the country in mourning many losses, but also trying to count the many blessings that remain. It’s time to remember what’s really important: Family. Friends.

For many New Year’s is a time to celebrate. And after a parade of bad events, people sometimes need to just cut loose and assert the vibrancy, the joy of life. It doesn’t all add up but, damn it, we’re here.

Be careful. Be cautious. Make sensible plans. Celebrations can so quickly turn tragic with poor decisions — like drinking and driving.

Parents, hold those kids close. Try to make them feel how much they are loved and valued, how devastated you would be to lose them. The young, with their feelings of invincibility, often don’t grasp that the unthinkable really could happen to them. Try the ‘Do it as a favor to me’ and the ‘Promise me you won’t…’ tactics. Whatever it takes to keep everyone safe.

It’s worth pointing out to new drivers that they bear a grave responsibility, not only to keep themselves safe, but to guard the safety of their passengers and others out on the roads.

Ask them to think hard about how it would feel to be the surviving driver after some fatal accident, after their carelessness took a friend’s life, or even a stranger’s.

Parents, party hosts, friends, don’t let anyone get behind the wheel after drinking. The slightest error in judgment can change lives forever. It’s not worth it.

Be the example others can follow. Be sure to have a designated driver. Better yet, be one. Or stay put to celebrate — stay over at the party host’s house, stay at a friend’s, stay on the couch. Stay home and watch the glittering ball drop with family. Stay alive.

For all the bad that does happen, life can still hold so much.

Don’t squander it — yours, theirs, anyone’s.

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