Re "Prom-Night High Ends in Death," May 22: It was with tears and anger that I read of the death of Cathy Isford. During my 50 years of being a pastor, too often have I stood with my hand on the casket of an outstanding, talented and very gifted teen and said the words of committal. Each was lawfully and jealously protected from such judgmental words as: "Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie about others. Thou shalt not cheapen the holy gift of being co-creators with God."
May teens look at the beautiful picture of Isford and have the intelligence to determine that they do not want to do as she did, throw their lives away; the intelligence to reject a culture that says you have to find happiness in a bottle or a pill. May her memory, painful in the loss to her family, be also in the minds of those intelligent enough to be tomorrow's parents, leaders and heroes, so that they choose a different path and have the courage to walk that path, as unpopular as it seems to be.
W. Lee Truman
Another teenage tragedy, but will anyone recognize the real cause of death, or will it just be marked as another drug overdose? Would it have happened if she knew that alcohol and Ecstasy don't mix? Did she ask someone and get "just say no" for an answer? Was she afraid to seek treatment at the first sign of trouble for fear of getting caught?
Would Isford be here today if drug education included factual, honest information rather than zero tolerance, zero intelligence, zero responsibility and do-nothing, feel-good propaganda? If we had a second chance, would we tell her something else, something that might have saved her life, even if she didn't "just say no"?
My heart goes out to Isford's family and friends. It is a horrible tragedy to lose a young woman like her. But the acceptance of using Ecstasy by some among her family and friends, in order to "have the best possible time she could have," and the general acceptance of the attitude that you need some form of mood-altering drug or alcohol in order to have a good time, contributed to her death.
I propose a different outcome: Sister confides in sister that she will be using Ecstasy on prom night. Sister tells mother what is planned. Mother says no, you are not going to the prom. Everyone involved has a really bad night that probably continues for several weeks. Unpleasant? Yes, but where does it say in the parent manual that came with your child that there would not be some unpleasant and hated things you would have to do? Isford would be sitting in class today.