Author Student Union

Lacy Jenkins

Pick your friends
wisely; foolish ones
can do you harm

When I saw their pictures in the television news, I realized I could have been arrested, too.

Two of my former friends, Adam and Christopher, were charged because of plans to shoot up my old school. I used to hang out with them every day. I knew them. I considered them my friends. And my friends could have brought me harm.

I left my friends and Louisiana about six months ago. In Hawaii, I moved to Ewa and am spending my junior year at Lanakila Baptist High School.

When I think back, my friends seemed quiet, sweet and basically good students. We were considered outcasts, the "Goths." We dressed differently, but our clothes did not say who we were. It did not tell you about our dreams and hopes. It did not tell you about our pains and joys.

Our perception of reality tended toward a sense of gloom, but not complete cynicism. We saw the world through navy-colored glasses.

Some of our conversations were filled with concerns about grades. During other conversations we talked about our feelings and our pasts. But Adam and Christopher also used to talk about death and murder.

Their plan to do harm should not have been a surprise, but it was. Their names and pictures flashing on the news made my stomach turn. I felt sadness crawl down my spine to my toes. My heart felt heavy that my old friends might have gone through with a crazy plan. They actually had worked out a detailed plan to kill.

I realized that I could have been caught up in their plans. In the middle of my 10th-grade year, I started being home-schooled so I could be removed from a physical danger. I was emotionally vulnerable, and I could have been swayed by my old friends.

But then I moved. I was scared and unsure of Hawaii and a new school.

Now moving seems like a blessing. I have the benefit of looking at my friends from a distance. I realize how messed up Adam and Chris are. I can see that they were mentally and emotionally gone. The talks we shared could have been corrosive and done harm to me. I still don't know exactly what the effect of spending time with them has had on me.

Friends can add to your life. They can support, encourage and correct you. They can share the good times, and make the bad times bearable. Your friends can be a source of love. They help take the edge of loneliness away and make the world a smaller place.

This is what good friends do. Bad friends can take you down paths that hurt or discourage you. So it makes a difference whom you choose as friends.

In the Bible, a proverb says that if you hang out with the wise, then you grow wiser. If you hang out with fools, you can suffer harm.

You need to choose your friends wisely because you cannot be sure where they will end up -- and you might end up with them.

Lacy Jenkins, a junior at Lanakila Baptist High School, writes poetry and for the high school newspaper, Warrior.


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Student Union is a forum for Hawaii's teenagers to tell the community what's on their minds and in their hearts. It appears every Thursday, starting today. We welcome opinions of no more than 700 words on any topic. Please include your name, address and phone number. E-mail to, fax to 529-4750 or mail to Student Union, Editorial Page, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813. For more information, contact Jeff Finney at 529-4735 or


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