Looking for someone to pay

The SE Texas Record Nov. 20, 2010, 9:49am

Loving parents who lose a child are inconsolable. We can sympathize, but we can never truly know the heartache unless we experience it ourselves.

When the loss of a child is due to negligence or intentional violence, parents and community rally together and seek redress – not to restore a loss that cannot be restored, but to affirm the value of the life lost and to reduce the threat of harm to other children.

Albert and Stephanie Carter lost their daughter in a tragic accident two years ago during a Christmas parade sponsored by the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.

Eleven-year-old Aaliyah performed with her dance troupe at the Beaumont Civic Center that day and later rode on a parade float with fellow dancers. She jumped off and was running alongside the float when she tripped and fell under it, suffering fatal head injuries when the trailer ran over her.

As their third Christmas without Aaliyah approaches, the Carters have filed suit in Jefferson County District Court against the Beaumont Chamber. They contend that the local business group, as sponsor and manager of the 2008 Christmas Holiday Festival & Parade, is responsible for the accident.

The suit does not specify a single act of negligence.

Even in cities like New Orleans which have a wealth of experience staging massive parades, tragic accidents occur from time to time. Floats may have protective guards and riders may be attached to harnesses; nevertheless on rare occasions a parade-goer still manages to be injured or die.

To remove all dangers from parades or other exciting community activities that young and old enjoy would require a complete ban of those events.

Surely, there ought to be a better way to honor the memory of a child than by suing an innocent party and as a possible result causing the cancellation of a parade that thousands of families watch, participate in and enjoy.

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