13 January 2011

Court Date

I'm not sure people are still reading this and if they do I'm sure they already know about the court date for the boy who was involved in the accident regarding Nate. Alysia sent out a big message on Facebook asking us to submit any statements we might have about Nate to be read. I kept thinking about it. I kept thinking about how the family was trying to make sure that after Nate lost everything, their boy lost as little as possible. I'm not saying I hate him or he's bad or anything like that. I think it was exactly what I called it. An accident. But I also remember one of my favorite webcomics (Basic Instructions) saying that just because you act like there are no consequences doesn't mean there aren't. I feel like Nate had two sides to him that somehow meshed together well. On the one hand, he was a tad risky. He liked to do exciting things in big ways. But on the other hand, he was responsible in a really rock solid way. I feel like that was the stronger side. Did he like to go have a good time? Sure. But he paid for it out of his own pocket. Did he like to ride? You bet. But never unless he was adequately safe. Someone who was physically tall enough to have his head in the clouds while his feet were simultaneously on the ground. I never appreciated it while he was around.

I kept thinking about how responsible Nate was and I kept thinking about "what if the tables were turned? What if instead of Nate being gone he was on trial for taking the life of a 16 year old?" This is what I wrote when I thought about that.

"It seems odd to me that I am now so distanced from driving through the streets of Golden, Colorado sobbing on my way to teach because I had learned the day before my friend Nate had been killed. Hard to type it and think about it and with friends who share the loss I almost avoid bringing it up because it would feel like picking at a scab that won't heal anyway. Nate was a lot of things I didn't like sometimes. He could be mean. Sometimes he wanted things to be his way and was very insistent that they were. Sometimes he just irritated you. However, when we were teenagers and when we got older I started to realize that Nate was a beacon of responsibility in a way I didn't quite understand then. Before any of us were forced into part time jobs by parents, Nate was already working a late shift at a video store near his parents' house. What were we doing while Nate was working? Well, I can recall going there and irritating him by being a teenager while he was entrusted with a business. While most of us were screwing around at college or screwing around not at college, Nate was holding down a full time job at Honda and earning his own keep. In addition to this, he was playing in a lot of bands that had obtained mid-level success which can be sometimes more than a full time job. When he decided to quit these bands and leave the success a lot of us had dreamed about in high school I asked him why. "Well Paul," he said "If you're the one who can pay the way....you usually do." It was then I realized that Nate had not only bore his own responsibility, but he had taken on the responsibilities of so many others. But I don't think you'd hear him complain. He bowed out yes, but quietly and because he wanted to make sure he fulfilled his own responsibilities. After he died, my friend Robert talked about what a huge loss this was for him. He felt like Nate was the one he could always always count on to be there. The solid responsible rock. In my days as a teacher, I often was a first-hand witness to watching parents try to make sure that the consequence of error did not fall squarely on the shoulders of their children, where it belonged. Today, I think about how Nate often showed all of us what responsibility was. Not with a lot of words (as I'm doing), but by doing it. And I can't help but think that if he were sitting in a seat in a courtroom having taken someone else's life through mistakes and shirking his responsibility he would not ask to be spared the consequences. As a man, long before any of his boyhood friends knew what it meant, I think he would stand up and accept the consequences of errors he had made. My only hope now is that those who have erred and cost fellow human beings a son, brother, bandmate and dear dear friend will not be spared on account of being a boy. For it is in these errors and their consequences as boys and girls that people learn to become men and women frightened but ready to face any dangers that can and most certainly will fall on their doorstep."

Because of time and financial constraints (in addition to living in Colorado) I can't be there on the court date. I'd like to ask for anyone who can be there to be there.

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