Editorial: Understanding what was lost

Daniel Shaffert wasn’t famous. Unless you were a friend, a relative, a classmate or a coworker, it’s unlikely you would have heard his name until now.

So why have we devoted front page space to tell Daniel’s story? Why talk to his parents, siblings and close friends, who are now mourning his loss?

We did it because we felt it was important that people understand just what was lost — to paint a three-dimensional picture of a son, brother, friend, uncle and fishing fanatic, who was preparing for a career as an electrician.

We wanted to point out that all of that is now gone, and that his family and friends are left with a gaping wound that will never really heal.

Daniel wasn’t a number. No one is.

Yet we rack up statistics each year, announcing how many lives were lost on Lower Mainland roads. We are told — and report — the age and gender of each victim. Often, that’s all we ever learn.

We don’t yet know for certain why the car Daniel was riding in collided with another vehicle that night in early February, ending his life.

At the time of the crash, police said alcohol and road conditions were two possibilities that were being examined.

The point is, his death was, in all likelihood, avoidable. These things usually are.

Whether it’s speeding, running a red light, being distracted by a phone, (or something else) driving too fast for conditions, taking unnecessary chances, or impairment, almost every crash that claims a life could have been avoided, using  the lessons we learned — and were tested on — before being given the legal right to drive.

Unforeseen mechanical problems or a serious medical event are exceptions, but they’re rare.

More often than not it’s a bad decision — or a bad habit — that ends up having irreversible consequences.

Our hope is that reading Daniel’s story and getting even a small sense of all that can be lost in an instant, will lead someone out there, at some point, to make a better decision.

Just Posted

COLUMN: Technology gives me hope my father will walk again

Lokomat taught Michael Coss to walk again after brain injury – and you could help bring it to Surrey

Decision to opt out of Operation Red Nose made last spring, says Langley Gymnastics

ORN drivers in neighbouring communities will fill Langley/Surrey gaps as best they can

Curling competition cutting close ahead of BC Junior Curling Championships

Qualifiers for December’s championships come down to the decimal point

Theatre stuff from stolen trailer found strewn on Surrey roadside

‘It’s going to take a little while to go through it all and find out what’s ruined and what’s OK’

Golden time for Langley pair on the water

Langley women team up to win gold at rowing national championships in Burnaby

VIDEO: Two years in review with Cloverdale-Langley City MP

John Aldag sits down to talk about heritage, economics

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Delta-Richmond Operation Red Nose kicks off with call for volunteers

ORN uses volunteers to provide motorists who have been drinking a free ride home — in their own cars

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Overnight lane closures at Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue

Left turn lanes off of the highway onto 72nd eastbound will be closed to install drainage culverts

Most Read