21 June 2017

They Weren't Planning To Have A Funeral For Him

When you raise a kid, you don't plan on having a funeral for him when he's 20.

I remember hearing that when I was about ten years old.   The person who uttered it was a relative of a classmate--who was the younger sister of the 20-year-old in question.

That relative was, of course, trying to deal with the grief he and his family were feeling just after a memorial mass.  Even though he, and others, knew the dangers the 20-year-old faced as a soldier in Vietnam, they were shocked to learn of his death.

I hadn't thought about that episode in a long, long time.  What brought it back for me today was a news story that came my way.  In it, Stephanie Groh Doersam says, "People don't plan to have to do a funeral for a 20-year-old."

She is a friend of Aaron Michael Laciny and his family.  Yes, Laciny is the 20-year-old to whom she is referring.  But what struck him down wasn't mortar fire.  Rather, it was automotive bumpers.  Yes, bumpers in the plural.

Around 10:30 Monday night, he was riding south on Charles Street, near the intersection with Charlesbrooke Road, in Balitmore.   There, a car struck him and drove away from the scene.  

Then a second vehicle struck him.  The driver of that one, at least, stopped and called the police.  But it was too late for Laciny:  He was taken to nearby Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where he died.

According to police, he was wearing a helmet but his bike didn't have lights or reflectors.  They are looking for the first vehicle that struck him, which "may have front-end damage to its bumper."  They are also reviewing private security video footage from the area.

Aaron Michael Laciny

Aaron Michael Laciny had just recently graduated from Baltimore City Community College and was interning at the Johns Hopkins Nano Energy Laboratory, where he was working to design and build new materials for inexpensive solar cells.  Questdrion Threat, a friend and classmate, said that Laciny--who friends jokingly referred to as "Bill Nye", in reference to the television science personality--wanted to "do research that would make the world a better place."

Neither Threat nor Groh Doersam--nor, for that matter, any of Laciny's other friends or family--expected to plan on having a funeral for him.  Or for any other 20-year-old doing nothing more perilous than riding a bike on a Baltimore street at night.


  1. On the plus side, it's good to hear that the police seem to be taking this incident seriously. On the minus side, I'm confused how someone rides at night without legally required lighting, while believing that a helmet will somehow help do more than mitigate the consequences of not getting seen prior to the crash. More minus - someone who hits another human being and doesn't stop to help isn't really a human being other than in genome...

  2. Steve--I agree with everything you say, especially your last sentence. I, too, wondered why such a seemingly intelligent young man went out at night without lighting. Still, that doesn't justify his death, or the fact that someone hit him and didn't stop.