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Death of a surfer: It can happen here

The recent beating death of local surfer Emery Kauanui is a tragedy that shames La Jolla. We are a community of well-educated, family-oriented people, so the fact that a local young man was beaten to death here, by three men from La Jolla and another from San Diego, begs the question, “How can it happen here?”

We do not know the whole story. We do know alcohol was involved, and have learned that some of those arrested in the attack had a history of violent behavior. This, however, does not adequately explain what happened that night. It is likely that no one involved in the attacks, including the victim, was completely innocent of wrongdoing. But what could possibly have transpired between these young men, that would result in one of them getting killed? Is it a foregone conclusion that the mixture of alcohol and testosterone-fueled young men should invariably lead to violence?

What we all must take from this tragedy is the realization that we all must treat each other with more kindness, respect and dignity. We may not always agree with each other, but we are part of a larger community, the human race. We have the ability to discern right from wrong, and what behavior is or isn’t appropriate. We also must realize that violence is not the best way to resolve a dispute.

La Jolla has lost a son, and four local families’ lives have been drastically changed, because of this attack. Our hearts go out to all of the families involved. Is there a positive lesson that can be learned and shared? We believe all life is precious. We are dismayed that young people had to resort to this type of violence to resolve their dispute. We call on all La Jollans to learn from this tragedy and make sure your children and grandchildren truly value human life.