The community's widespread outpouring of grief over the untimely death of Del Norte High freshman Josh Lacy and their great support for his family offers something positive amid this weekend's sad news. Even if total strangers, Del Norters care enough for one another that we lament this unnecessary loss.
And so we are deeply shaken that he died in a hit-and-run. Worse, there is the possibility that if the driver had stopped and called for help, paramedics might have arrived on the scene soon enough to save Josh. His broken bones were not severe enough to cause death, but the few minutes that passed from the time that driver left the scene until someone else saw Josh's body and called 911 was all that much longer that oxygen did not flow to his brain, which proved to be the ultimate killer.
Given when and where the accident occurred, we suspect the driver who hit Josh knows so. No doubt that person panicked. With the news of Josh's death, they likely are terrified. The legal consequences of a hit-and-run - not to mention what this will do to his or her life and presumably family - will be harsh.
If this driver has a family to care for, we suspect he or she has a conscience and a sense of responsibility. If so, the driver will feel guilt about this accident for the rest of his or her life.
To that driver, we offer this counsel: You know what you did was wrong. If you are ever to find peace with yourself, the first step must be to atone for your actions. We know the days ahead will be difficult. But by having turned yourself in, you always will know that you made amends for this decision.
There is no way, of course, to bring Josh back. Josh's family knows that. But for the family to have closure, they must hear words of apology from the driver. They must know that the driver - like so many others in the community - grieves as well and regrets his or her actions of Friday morning.
Indeed, if there is one thing that angers and truly terrifies people of good conscience, it is the recognition that there are soulless monsters out there who care nothing for their fellow human beings.
The driver who hit Josh Friday morning can prove that he or she is not such a person by doing the right thing: Turn yourself in to police. There is no shame in doing what is right.