The Daily Tar Heel
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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

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The Daily Tar Heel


Elena Shapiro was my first best friend. She was the first person I became inseparable with, the first person that I could tell all of my hidden elementary school crushes to, and the first person I emulated as someone I’d like to be a little more like. I still sucked my thumb in elementary school because Elena was doing it (no matter that she had to have braces longer than any of us). I went to see the Nutcracker every year in middle school because even though we had drifted apart, Elena still looked beautiful prancing around with the Sugar Plum Fairy, and I was proud that she had once been my very best friend.

We all know that the loss of Elena’s life is a tragedy. We all know that she was a beautiful, talented and passionate young woman. We all see her story and mourn for those closest to her.

But for those who continue to drive drunk, what did her death say to you? Did it register that it could have been you to hit her? Do you get it now?

Two lives have been lost here, and the second is one of a UNC professor who is now being charged with second-degree murder.

It’s not a joke. Cut the excuses and pay for a cab. Call a friend. If they care about you, they’ll come get you. And if you care about anyone else’s life, or if you care about your own, I beg you to stop driving drunk. Someone was careless with Elena’s life, and now it’s gone.

Aleigh Huston-Lyons

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