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Learning from the Krueger Tragedy

The MIT community has suffered a tragic loss in the death of Scott S. Krueger '01. I am overwhelmed with sadness, grief, and anger. I did not know Scott personally, yet he could have been any one of the students I do know.

We as a community cannot afford to ignore the message this tragedy brings with it. On the evening news, I heard Scott's high school principal say Scott would have wanted us to learn from this. What can we learn?

The message is loud if we listen to our hearts. We are inclined to focus on legitimate questions and details - about the situation, what was done wrong, what we need to change at MIT to prevent another tragedy. But we also need to listen to our grief and anger. We grieve because we have lost a life; a precious, irreplaceable person. We are angry because this student's death is senseless: we do not really have to ask why it happened, because we know it was caused by the unnecessary consumption of alcohol.

Difficult problems do not have simple solutions. Individuals who take on difficult causes are usually motivated by a personal tragedy they have suffered. Why? The tragedy has literally forced them to experience a societal problem on a personal level. This experience, in turn, motivates them to change their community so others need not experience a similar preventable tragedy.

Imagine if we, as a community and as individuals, allowed ourselves to experience only a small portion of the grief that Scott's family must feel. Imagine how much motivation we would then have to face and solve the very real problem of alcohol misuse in our community.

Mary J. Ziegler

Consultant, Information Services