Yesterday, a 17-year-old boy died in the surf here. He drowned when the waves kicked up as a squall line rolled in. He floundered for a half an hour before he succumbed. What a waste and how horrible a way to go out. Had the people who brought him into the world taken their jobs seriously, he wouldn't be dead.
The papers and the police are blaming the weather but that's not what's responsible for this young man's death. According to his friends at the scene, he couldn't swim. That he couldn't swim was his parent's fault. Had that young man been able to keep himself buoyant or been able to just tread water in a rip tide he's be alive right now.
Teaching a child to swim is on par with teaching a kid to read or to do basic math. It's part of being a conscientious parent. Really.
I learned how to swim off the end of a dock and I get it that that's an opportunity a lot of people don't have. However, there are YMCAs everywhere with means-adjusted swimming programs.
At some point, you will be confronted with a body of water and not knowing how to deal with it is a death sentence.
I look to the Gulf of Mexico as a place of renewal and relaxation. I get it that it's capable of great harm but the squall line yesterday was no big deal in the great scheme of things. Please. Teach your kids to swim.