Petzold: Recklessness can lead to tragedy

Megan Petzold

On May 19, five people boarded a boat in the Lake of the Ozarks for what should have been a harmless joyride. Unfortunately, that was not how the night would play out.

At about 1 a.m., the driver, 22-year-old Hayden Frazier, crashed the boat into a rock bluff, killing three of his friends and severely injuring another. This lamentable tale became even more tragic when it was reported that Frazier was operating the boat while intoxicated.

The most tragic part of this incident, however, is how easily it could have been avoided.

If Frazier was intoxicated that night, he should not have been driving. Boating in the Ozarks is already quite challenging — there were four fatalities there in 2016 — and that night was overcast, making it even harder to navigate the waters.

The lesson that should be taken from this incident is that you should always be aware of the risks and potential consequences of your actions. Even with a sober, experienced driver, the lake is not an easy place to navigate at night; while it is common knowledge that young adults make questionable decisions, this one changed the lives of five people, their families and many others forever.

Every activity on campus involves a certain amount of risk — some more so than others. Some students involve themselves in massive parties; others invite someone they don’t know over because they are a “friend of a friend.” Most of these cases end happily, with all parties leaving without harm — but there are some that end in tragedy. If you feel nervous in a certain situation, or feel as though you no longer control your actions or environment, that is a sign to remove yourself from that situation.

I hope that we can learn from this horrendous experience. College students especially should feel safe and secure in the environment they put themselves in. If someone else is putting you or others in danger, go elsewhere.

Sometimes, small actions can lead to bigger and bigger consequences, until the results are unpredictable and out of control. This is called the butterfly effect – even the smallest action can have unforeseen consequences.

There is plenty of time in life to make memories. Don’t rush to make them all happen now and inadvertently put yourself in a bad situation. 

In memory of Hailey Hochanadel, Joseph LeMark and Daniel Lewis. Also, prayers to Ashley Lamb making a full recovery.