Putting bad examples to use

It may well be true that everyone has to make his own mistakes, but one would hope that tragic examples of drug use by celebrities would have some impact on young people tempted to try them.

A few years ago, the world lost Whitney Houston. She was a victim of her excesses. The last tragic years of her life as she battled drug and alcohol addictions should scream at would-be experimenters — “Stop! You can’t handle this!”

We are constantly told that entertainers and star athletes shouldn’t be considered as role models. Isn’t there some way we can at least hold them up as warning signs?

Wouldn’t pictures of Elvis, Michael Jackson and poor Whitney be a great centerpiece for an anti-drug campaign? There are videos showing a loopy, bloated Elvis forgetting the words to “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” There is the audio recording Michael’s doctor made of him rambling along incoherently.

And, there are videos of a raspy-voiced and dazed Whitney trying to perform — and being booed.

And, my goodness, what a preventable tragedy Prince’s death was. His plane had made an emergency landing just days before his death because he couldn’t breathe. Yet no one could get him off his tragic path.

There must be some way to make good use of these wasted lives. Whitney Houston was an incredible, inspirational performer. Elvis was the super-talented King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Michael’s singing and dancing were magical. Talent dripped from Prince as a musician and a composer.

Perhaps they can inspire one more time.

If showing the ravages of their drug and alcohol abuse kept one person from going down that deadly path, it would serve as a lasting tribute to these talented performers.

(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.