Gunn 16-year-old died in car crash early July 6 Crimes & Incidents, posted by Southgate neighbor, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Jul 7, 2006 at 6:12 pm
He just finished his sophomore year at Gunn - one of my child's best friends - I am frightened and at a loss on how to deal with this. Does the PAUSD district do any counselling when school is not in session when a PAUSD student is killed?
Posted by southgate neighbor, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Jul 7, 2006 at 7:20 pm
I already contacted them and they have a teen group that meets every 1st and 3rd Tuesday but you have to be referred (a parent has to be interviewed by staff). I will try to get the teens to agree to go (Thanks for the info). I am wondering how many other parents are dealing with young teens drinking and driving (or just drinking). I am so upset about my teen's involvement, but finding it hard to stop it. We talk about it, but don't imprison the child in the house - when they are out we don't know what they are doing.
Posted by Carolyn, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 7, 2006 at 8:18 pm
I guess having a designated driver may be the best hope. Maybe that person could make a video of everybody who's drinking, and the embarrassment may suffice as a deterrent!
I think I read that AAA provides a ride home wihin a certain distance for drivers under the influence, even nonmembers.
I'm sure kids know what choices they have--adults too--but alcohol erases good judgment along with the inclination to make a good choice.
I don't know the circumstances of Garth Li's death, but my heart goes out to his parents, and to his younger sister, and all the other kids in town. Please be careful, know that you are loved, and if you drink, stop after one or two, while you can still think about it.
Posted by Friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 7, 2006 at 11:57 pm
Garth Li was an amazing person. Somebody who doesn't know Garth might say that he deserved the consequences, based on his actions. But those of us who knew him know that he was a genuine guy - somebody who you could talk to, and somebody who cared. He was always nice to everybody, always made us laugh, and never pressured anybody into doing anything. Unfortunately, the choices that he made led to an example that we all can learn from. I wish he were back here with us.
To his family, I wish them the best. Garth was smart, and had a lot going for him. He's missed so much by everybody who knew him, and none of us are going to forget him or his sweet and caring personality any time soon. Although what happened was terrible, Garth was unknowingly giving us all one last gift - the realization that we're not immortal, and that what we do now affects our futures. WE LOVE YOU GARTH. REST IN EVERLASTING PEACE.
Posted by a mother, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 12:20 am
What a beautiful tribute to a lovely boy. I met him and I knew he did some very risky things - but he was very very sweet and obviously had a lot going for him. What a loss. It affects every parent when his or her child's friend is killed or hurt. Please kids, be careful. We don't want to lose any more of you.
Posted by niko, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2006 at 1:28 am
Garth's awful event has moved most of us into disbelief. He was a great friend and would have become a fine man if given the chance. Our hearts go out to the house of Li especially to his younger sister. This event has been very hard on ALL of us and lessons must be learned from this! His car was not safe to drive due to a previous history of abuse. The people with Garth during his last hours should have taken his physical state and the condition of his car into account before they allowed him to get in and drive himself home. I would like the rest of the people to learn how devastating this event was and what should be done in a similar situation at parties. Brothers and Sisters take care of your friends and help them make intellegent choices to prevent another unfortunate episode of young men and women becoming paralyzed or dead for the worst reasons...
Please to all, learn from this! -our community WILL NOT endure a similar tragedy.
Parents- please talk to your kids. Let them be aware of the danger that exists and the influencial people in their lives. A more concrete understanding may prevent a young death. As a teen myself, I can truly express the success and effectiveness of communicating to your children.
Posted by friend, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 6:22 am
I met Garth a few years ago and he was a very kind and friendly person. He always knew how to make his friends laugh and seemed like the type of guy that this wouldn't happen to. Not this...not Garth. Unfortunately, it did. Rest in peace, Garth.
I wish his family the best. His little sister Vicky, his mom, his dad. Hopefully we all can learn that drinking does has its consequences.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2006 at 6:52 am
If the tragic accident that took the lives of a Tongan Royal Couple and their driver was unexpected, Garth Li's could have been prevented. There is a law that says young drivers like Garth cannot drive in late hours. Did he not know this law? I do not want to sound accusatory, but how about his parents? Teenagers need to be on a short leash or they will easily get out of control.
Garth was 16. The other young driver who caused the Tongan deaths is 18. Both young and both reckless. One lost his life, the other could spend up to eight years in jail. One wonders if their parents bear any responsibility in all this.
Posted by max, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 9:21 am
I met garth in math this year. He was always easy to come up to talk to and very smart and could answer any question with a smile. I cannot believe this happened to such a wonderful person. May Garth rest in peace.
Posted by unknown, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2006 at 9:32 am
Garths death is nothing less then a tragity to anyone who knew him personally. I have known garth since about the 6th grade and every moment i was friends with him, he made everyone laugh and enjoy there lives. Lately though, we had not been in touch as much as we used to and i now regret whatever had towarn our friendship apart. I am still in complete shock about what happend less then 48 hours ago to a boy who did nothing but love life to the fullest. No one who knew garth did not love him, care about him, and will now miss him. I do think it is very disrespectful for everyone posting on this to audomaticly assume his "circumstances" for the accident. Garth was a responcible guy, and if anything led to the accident, I do believe we owe him the respect to have toxicoligy tests prove to us what happend. My deepest condulences to his family. Your son will never be forgoten. RIP Garth Li. We love you, We miss you, You were a great friend who everyone loved. I will never forget all the memories we had together...the talks... and the fun. You helped me personally though alot, you listened and i truely will miss you.
Posted by a mother, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 10:02 am
I was very sad to hear about Garth's tragic accident. When I heard about this yesterday, I was frozen. It can't be true are the thoughts that went through my mind. As many other parents know, when a child is killed in our community, whether we know them or not, we feel like we have lost one of our own. All children in this community belong to all of us. Yesterday we lost a very beautiful person, Garth Li. I loved Garth's smile and his spirit. Garth, we love you, and we will never forget you.
Posted by 2 friends, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 12:22 pm
We don't know what to say about such a wonderful guy, so we won't even begin, because we might not be able to stop.
However, we would like to say that all the even slightly hurtful things that are going up on this forum are just making it even more painful for his family and friends,and it's really unnecessary. What happened happened, and although I know a lot of us are thinking "Oh, if somebody had only done this, or if somebody had only done that..." But we have to accept what happened and not accuse anyone of anything. Please don't make this whole process harder for anyone.
Posted by a friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 1:04 pm
I keep being afraid of someone who didn't know him saying he deserved it, because then I know I'll snap.
Garth might have made some bad choices, and all of his friends told him many times to stop. But to say someone as beautiful, happy, and smart as he was deserved it should be sin all in itself.
I knew him through school, and through many of my friends. There was not a single time I saw him that he was not smiling, helping everyone, cheering everyone up. There was not a mean thing that I heard him say to anyone, and my friends, who knew him much longer, haven't either.
He shone too brightly among us to just have his life ended like this, and as many accusations as may come to mind, I can only extend sympathy to his parents, his sister, and to the people who saw him last, and to all his friends that keep seeing him wherever they go, and keep remembering that only days ago, he was still with us.
We love you, Garth. We miss you. And you will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace.
Posted by Mr. C, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 1:06 pm
This is as unexpected as it gets. Garth was an easy going young man with a great sense of humor. We had a lot of fun in class teasing each other. Teens tend to think this kind of stuff doesn't happen to them... which makes it tougher to accept when it takes someone this well liked, this young. My heart goes out to all those close to Garth.
Posted by Yana, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 3:44 pm
Garth was a great guy for the brief time i knew him. one second you are looking at someone not expecting that the next they will be gone. how many lives have to be taken for us to learn, though? RIP garth let us not grieve for his loss but celebrate his life.
I280 south onramp for Farm Hill BLVD is a memorial. go there to leave something for Garth or pay your respects or just remember him.
Posted by Carolyn, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2006 at 9:56 pm
Garth-- I will miss you everyday. i miss driving around with you and laughing our heads off at silly things. i miss walking with you at lunch and having a buddy in Saturday school. you are such a great guy and i know you are in a better place. i wish the best to your family and we will always remember the smiles and happiness you brought us everyday.
You are a truly a good person with a good heart. you are one of the brightest people i know and rmemeber that we all love you with all our hearts.
you will always be in our hearts and let us pray you are watching over us and helping us.
Posted by Will, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2006 at 11:03 pm
Garth, I will never Forget our multiple good times in that Hottub up in woodside. You were a person that made everyone around you much happier and was a friend to me whenever i needed one. You will be remembered.
Posted by Michael, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 11:09 pm
Garth was one of my best friends. I spent nearly every brunch and lunch with him. I've never been more certain in my life that heaven exists. People like Garth don't just fade into the ground. They live on forever. I will never forget you. You were like a brother to me, and you taught me so much.
Posted by Nate, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2006 at 11:28 pm
When I heard about the tragedy, I thought it was one of my friends playing a cruel joke. But when I read the article, and realized it was true, I was just shocked. I know Garth is in a better place now, but I still wish he was with us here.
And a note to "Concerned" from the Duveneck/St. Francis area, how dare you accuse his parents? Parents cannot always keep an eye on their children. Garth's parents were some of the best people I have ever known, and who are you to try and put the responsibility on them? You should be ashamed of yourself. Have some respect.
Posted by Elaine, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 11:39 pm
Garth-- We had so many good times together... so many memories. All those times you came down in the 22 bus and walked to my house. I'll love you forever. I'm so grateful to have met such a wondeful person like you. Everything about you was perfect and you were all I needed... You were so likeable and everyone loved you the moment they met you. Meet me in paradise =]
Posted by Mom of a friend of Garth's, a resident of another community, on Jul 8, 2006 at 11:48 pm
My son who is at camp on the east coast called today to let us know of the tragic news (we no longer live in Palo Alto). He knew Garth since middle school and enjoyed his wit and friendship. Garth was a great kid; he was pleasant and very smart, and always respectful when he was at our house. Our hearts go out to Garth's family. I had spoken with Garth's Mom several times over the years and I know she tried hard to be the good Mom that we all try to be. Great kid or not, a teen is not yet an adult and most societies do not allow 16 year olds to drive. My daughter who graduated from Gunn in 2004 lost several friends in car crashes. How many more kids do we need to lose before we change a law that does not serve to protect our teens? I am touched to see how many of Garth's friends are expressing their grief and feelings for Garth, resolving that Garth's passing away will not be in vain, and acknowledging that they have been taught a difficult-to-learn lesson. May memories of the wonderful friendship you shared with Garth comfort you at this time.
Posted by austin, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 1:32 am
i went to middle school with garth at terman and then at gunn we are both in the same grade and he was always a nice guy to almost everyone, he was the one that worked the snack bar at brunch and lunch at gunn and he would always let me slide if i didnt quite have enough. i always have heard about kids dying in car accidents but never really thought i would know the person first hand. i saw garth breifly the day before this happend and now wish i could of made it count more. garth was a great guy but bad things happen to great guys all the time. he will be remembered and missed. i wish we would of kicked it more. pray for his family, and garth it was a pleasure to know you. RIP.
Posted by student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 3:17 am
I heard this tragic news from online postings and couldn't believe it...garth, the easygoing funny guy that everyone knew and loved, was no longer with us. Although he was known for his bad habits outside of school, his smile still brightened up the days of many Gunn students. Garth was everyones' friend, with his friendly smile and approachable personality.
Garth, you will be sorely missed by everyone at Gunn. Rest In Peace.
Posted by Katie H., a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 4:44 am
I cant beleive that Garth is gone.. When I hurd the news I didnt beleive the person who told me... I couldnt believe them untill I had really proof.. So I ran home and looked on this website... i didnt even click the link I just saw his name.... and I went crashing down. I cried for hours.
He was a great friend, we might of not been very close but still.. school isnt going to be the same without him.. He was loved by everyone, even the people who didnt really know him. I guess I just hope hes happy where he is..
He was loved, he is loved, he is missed, and he will always be missed.
Rest in peace my friend... look out for everyone ok?
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2006 at 2:09 pm
Here's a clipping from today's Mercury:
Palo Alto Unified School District board member Mandy Lowell called the crash a "terrible tragedy" that may help shed light on teen drivers.
"What professionals say is that young people consider themselves invincible. It's hard to imagine themselves dying," Lowell said. "In video games, people crash and walk away unharmed. In real life, this is a kid who will never get to attend another football game, dance or go to college. His life is over. If the loss of his life can make another kid think it's not cool to drive this way, his life will have contributed something important."
To everyone who loved Garth, heed the above words of wisdom.
Posted by A student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 2:26 pm
Not you, nor some writer from the Mercury, and not even some PAUSD board memember has any right to say ANYTHING about Garth. Because you didn't know him. You didn't know how cheerful and caring he always was, or how smart he was, or the great advice he gave. You never felt him hug you and instantly felt better, even though you barely knew him. He cared about everyone, was nice and respectful to everyone, and loved life. He lived a fuller life than many do that live to grow up and grow old, and he's the one who should've.
So please, stop posting. Stop adding to our grief, and stop telling us Garth was this reckless teen who just turned into another statistic, and a lesson we need to learn from. Because the lesson is being learned, and Garth was so so much more than that. He taught us to be ourselves, to care, to love; his life contributed to ours in many, many ways other than give us a lesson about drunk driving. And bad habits or not, it shouldn't have ended just to give us that lesson.
Posted by student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 3:01 pm
I am angered to hear of people accusing Garth's parents of this tragic event. As you can see, this is a very sensitive issue and pointing fingers to sound credible is in now way going to alleviate this situation. The resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood is positively cruel to accuse his parents at such a time, or to accuse them period. What are they trying get at? Although they may be trying to move on, as they can see it is not a time to come to conclusions, nor is that necessary. Concluding that all teens are reckless drinkers and make poor decisions because of their immaturity is not right either. Everyone has made mistakes regarding this matter, both teens and adults. Trust me, the students have all learned from his mistake, and we don't need people to point that out any further to us. All in all, we should respect Garth's life, celebrate his being, and remember him as an amazing person. Garth was always smiling. And I'm sure as he looks down and sees how many people care about him, he is smiling.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2006 at 4:40 pm
The following is excerpted from SFGate (SF Chronicle):
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles' Web site, aside from specific exceptions, drivers under the age of 18 holding provisional driver licenses are restricted from driving without a licensed driving instructor, parent, guardian or other licensed driver at least 25-years-old between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. since "recent statistics show that citations (and) serious accidents involving provisional drivers during the 9:00 p.m. to 5 a.m. period have dramatically increased over the past five years."
Parents, please make sure your beloved teenagers are not out driving late in the night.
Posted by student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 5:26 pm
Concerned: my fellow students and I are taking the loss of Garth very seriously. He was a great guy to be around, for everyone, including those who didn't know him very well. He was always cheerful, and his death is a very unfortunate event. I understand that you are trying to be a good samaritan and help keep others safe, but posting that on this comment-board is helping no one. The Gunn community, not to mention Garth's family, has suffered a blow, and every one of us is feeling very raw - we're all still in shock. I think all of us has learned or will learn the lesson that Garth's death can teach, but to allow this to be an effective lesson (while still allowing us to appreciate the life our classmate was able to lead), it needs not to turn into a set of heartless numbers. I appreciate your sentiment, but please, let us learn our own lessons.
Posted by Mixed-feelings, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2006 at 6:24 pm
To all the people who are criticizing Concerned, I'm sure you would want to prevent your own children from circumstances like this. Hidden cameras are extreme but I think that innate urge to sneak out in all of us (or most) leads to bad and I wish SOO much that Garth had realized that and stopped the problem where it started. My condolences go out to Garth and his family. It is definitely a tough time and I think we should all try to lessen the burden that they bear. However, from this story, I think that we (teens) should realize how we should really think through our decisions. As a person who personally knew Garth, I never really thought that the previous deaths were really related to me. Now that I realize that it could happen to someone in my close knit circle, it really makes me rethink decisions, urges, peer pressure, and drinking.
Posted by anonymous, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 6:32 pm
I live no where near Palo Alto. I never knew Garth, but I know people that were friends with him. Reading this makes me realize how precious a young life is, and how the community is affected by the death of a single kid. It's sad to see people point fingers at people, and say how Garth was just a reckless young kid that made a bad decision that virtually led him to his death. Garth's parents are obviously already going through enough by having to mourn for the death of their child. No parent deserves to lose their child. It doesn't matter who the child is, the mistakes they made, or even the mistakes that the parents made. At this time, it's unnecessary for people to sit here and accuse people and lecture and take clippings of laws to rub it in. The kids obviously already get it. They already learned their lesson. Have some respect for Garth and his loved ones.
Posted by Sue, a resident of Stanford, on Jul 9, 2006 at 6:34 pm
A personal tragedy, the death of a beloved friend and child, has been opened up to public discussion and scrutiny because of the existence of the Town Square Forum. Perhaps this forum provides a useful way for Garth Li’s friends to express their feelings and to share information. However, I think the rest of us should refrain from commenting here—this is not the time or place for speculation or generalizations.
Posted by Nancy, a resident of another community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 8:35 pm
Garth could make everything seem alright with just one smile. He would listen to you, and offer advice, but he would never judge you. I've known him ever since we were little, and I always remember people commenting on how opposite we were, and how 'rebellious' he seemed. But I always knew he wasnt that way at all. He was independent, and he always did what he believed was right. It's hard to believe someone's life can be so quickly taken away, especially someone our age.
Garth, I love you, and I miss you so much it hurts. Rest in peace.
Posted by a mother of Gunn Sophomore, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2006 at 9:24 pm
As a mother, I can feel the pain of Garth's parents. My son, who is still in a state of denial, is not willing to accept the fact that someone of his age could go so fast. There are still so many things to see and experience in life. May Garth rest in peace .
Posted by Alex, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 9:33 pm
I didn't really know Garth that well, but he was always funny and he made people laugh. This news about his death really shook both me and my belief in life¡XI never really knew that life could be that short until now. The Oracle will definitely cover this tragedy, and, if nothing, will at the very least make sure that no one will be forgetting Garth soon.
Posted by uluaoa, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2006 at 11:18 pm
all of us have made bad choices--we've just been lucky enough not to have paid full price. I met Garth, once, and believe the future has lost a good person. however it happened [fatigue impairs ability too, not just intoxication] of course he didn't 'deserve' the outcome--nor do his family. my irony? I drove him home from the DMV a few months ago. we are all part of the chain.
one way to recognize this tragedy is by learning to heed our own inner sense--and by respecting our friends when they say we're acting dumb. doing so will honor those who have paid what we have not, by doing what they would if they now could.
Posted by Terman Teacher, a member of the Terman Middle School community, on Jul 10, 2006 at 12:00 pm
I just heard about this tragedy an hour ago, when I happened to see a Daily News. I am just so sad, for Garth, for his family and friends.
To his parents and sister: My heart just breaks for you. He was such a nice kid - always thoughtful and caring. He always had a smile, and a sweetness to him. I remember how he took care of others, looking out for them. He will be missed by so many.
To his friends: I know how unreal this feels. Hold onto the best of him - he deserves it.
To other "concerned" parents: I know how much Garth's parents cared for him, and about him, how much they tried to take care of him. We do the best we can for our children - ALL our children, the ones in our family, as well as the ones we love and take care of a few hours a week. We do our best, try to give them the foundation they need. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes, not. And when we don't, we cry and try and keep going. There is no blame.
Posted by A Friend, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 10, 2006 at 1:04 pm
What can you say about Garth... It is still hard to believe that he died. He was a good friend even if you only talked to him a few times. He always made people feel welcome and had something nice to say to everyone. I am sorry for his parents and everyone one who knew him. He was a good guy and will never be forgotten.
Posted by Katie Deierlein, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jul 10, 2006 at 3:09 pm
on days when i felt like shit and hated every thing, i would always end up seeing Garth. he would smile at me and wave, then come over and give me a hug, my days improved so much after this. his smile brightend everything around.
i couldnt belive that it was Garth, the Garth i new and had soo many memorys with. i still thin that it just cant be him. yet i know that some one close is gone because of the pain in side. but it cant be him, i just cant. but i know it is. ill never see him again, never see his smile, or receve one of his big warm hugs...
Posted by Jay, a member of the El Carmelo School community, on Jul 10, 2006 at 4:38 pm
Garth Li was my good friend and no matter where you were with him he would make it the place to be. He taught me a lot about life i am sure he had no regrets. I feel for his parents because no parent should have to endure this. I speak for many students in the Gunn community when i say none of us will drive under the influence after this. Anyone who knew understood he lived life hard. It is to late for him. He will live in my heart and everyone who knew him forever. Love and peace Garth.
Posted by braddock, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 10, 2006 at 11:37 pm
Garth was a good friend of mine and he never got angry at me, and i never got angry at him. He was friends with almost everyone in my school. I hate to see him go so soon in life, when he had so much to give to everyone
Posted by Another Terman Teacher, a member of the Terman Middle School community, on Jul 11, 2006 at 1:39 am
I just read the news about Garth and am devastated. All the positive comments about Garth are true. He always managed to bring a smile to my face ... and to those around him.
To his friends: Life isn't always "fair", "rational" or "logical". Being human, we make mistakes. Some are just bigger than others. Love the best of Garth. Honor him by being more thoughtful about your actions ... and by making every day count.
To "concerned" north PA parent: I believe you didn't mean for your comments to come off as judgemental, but they did. I have to hope that you're speaking from inexperience in dealing with teens or young adults on a daily basis. We do our best as parents, teachers, or friends and hope our children will be safe. Most of the time we're lucky and things work out, and we chalk incidents up as "learning experiences". Sometimes they don't work the way we had hoped or planned. When that happens, allow people some time to grieve before you jump in and tell them what they should have done.
I'm sure you love your children dearly and have given them the very best of your knowledge and experiences. Yet you don't know what your child will decide to do in any given situation in the future ... we hope it's a safe choice ... and if it isn't, then we hope someone isn't judgemental of you in your time of great sorrow and pain.
Posted by a mom, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 11, 2006 at 10:23 am
Parents of friends of Garth: There is a counselling service, ACS, in the tower building on Paly campus. They are there every week day except Thursday, and they have announced that kids can drop in. If a bunch of kids go in and decide on a time they'd like to get together with a professional, they will be glad to meet with groups of grieving kids. (they will also welcome any drop-ins). If you can pass this on please do - you don't have to be enrolled in summer school to take advantage of this service.
Posted by older, sadder & ? wiser, a resident of another community, on Jul 11, 2006 at 1:02 pm
I agree with the wise Terman teachers who understand that this is no time to judge or blame or even speculate. The tragic loss of Garth at such a young age diminishes our world. We shall never know what talents, skills and brilliance he may have brought to bear on problem solving and creating a better place to live. Not only his family and close friends are suffering a grievous loss, but all of us in widening circles who know his family. Perhaps a true memorial to a greatly missed young man will be for all of us to honor him by being extra careful with our loved ones, our friends, even with strangers. We can slow down, listen, offer a hand not only this terrible week, but in years to come. Garth's friends and schoolmates are our future; we wish them all the love, sympathy and support as they move into adulthood.
Posted by member, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 11, 2006 at 1:12 pm
To Garth's parents, I have a son who just finished up sophomore year at Gunn High. When I first heard the news, I felt heartbroken. We love our kids so much and want to give them the best. I pray that GOD will comfort your heart and give you strength to move on. HE loves Garth so much, far beyond what we can imagine. May Garth rest in peace!
Posted by a Gunn parent, a resident of Los Altos, on Jul 11, 2006 at 4:48 pm
My heart goes out to Garth's parents and friends. I can't begin to imagine how devastated they must feel. Besides the issue of driving under the influence, we should also be thinking about the dangers of sneaking out in the middle of the night. Just check the names and locations of preditors listed in your zip code area. It is stunning. I know sneaking out is a common practice among teens. Again, it can be you who meets up with the wrong person, not always someone else. Parents may not even know where to begin looking for you if they find you are missing. Please consider this seriously.
Posted by student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 11, 2006 at 5:33 pm
First of all, i think we can say garth's parents loved him very much, and they wpould have done anything to prevent this. He was such a nice person, and had a huge personality, and he lit up the day. He will be missed and loved by all, and we hope he can rest in peace,
Posted by A family friend, a resident of another community, on Jul 12, 2006 at 8:33 am
While I was driving by the tragic site this morning, I could not stop crying for the young life. Garth will be always remembered by his friends and friends of his parents. I only wish his parents and little sister will move on and live well.
Posted by Old friends of Garth's parents, a resident of another community, on Jul 12, 2006 at 11:24 am
As old friends and former colleagues of Garth's parents, we are so shocked by the sad and heart-breaking news! In our memory, Garth was such a wonderful boy with lots of smiles. Garth's parents are our dear friends and our former colleagues. They are wonderful employees and honorable people. They devote themselves to their kids and care deeply about their friends. They are those whom you really like to keep on top of the list as your true friends. Even though we only worked together for a little bit over one year and even though they moved to CA in 2001, our friendship has always been kept on and has been strengthened.
To Garth's parents, we mourn your loss and share your pain. You can always count on us, a group of your old friends.
Posted by Echomom, a resident of Stanford, on Jul 12, 2006 at 1:28 pm
My son was friends with Garth since middle school. I want to tell all of the teens in Garth's immediate group and the ones who did not know him as well that I think that they are the most loving, kind, and giving group of teens that I have ever met. I know that all of you are working very hard to make sure that Garth's memorial is truly a tribute to his memory. I also know that you are spending this week in quiet contemplation of Garth's life and also doing things that both you and he liked to do together. I feel that you innately know that the best way to honor Garth is to do and be in the places that you all went together, holding his memory dear. If anything can make this horrible situation better, it is knowing that Garth had such loving and giving friends and that through them, he will not be forgotten.
Posted by Vicki, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2006 at 3:27 pm
I think this is tragic death but it could have been much worse. What if he had crashed into another vehicle with a family in it leading to multiple deaths and or injuries. The fact is that he was 16 and should not have been driving at all at that time. If he had a drug or alcohol problem he should not have been allowed to drive at any time and should have been in treatment-- involuntarily if needed or in jail.
Enough is enough, we need to make sure that 16 year olds are not a danger to others while driving.
Posted by Mary Anne Deierlein, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2006 at 5:43 pm
I enjoy picking my daughters at Gunn High and having various friends hop in the car for a ride home. Garth often joined us during his Freshmen year. How fun even a short trip in the car is with them laughing, joking and asking to change the music!
Posted by Aaron H, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2006 at 10:23 pm
Who would have thought?
Ive known Garth since Terman. He was the "cool guy", he hung out with everyone. There were no boundaries with Garth, and no matter what some people think of him we can all agree he was a very respectable guy. I know your in a good place man, ill be at your funeral tommorow.
Posted by Friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 12:23 am
This is solemn news, indeed. I knew Garth through school, and occasionally outside of school, and he was always friendly, always smiling, always making all around him feel happy. It was shaking and shocking to hear, and it makes me look at my life and appreciate it. Hopefully, there is a good place for great people.
My condolences to his family, his sister, and his friends.
Posted by friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 12:26 am
Yes Sue, because after all, as parents it's to be expected that they know exactly where their child is AT ALL TIMES. Let's put video cameras in our childrens' rooms, keep GPS wristwatch on them at all times, and forbid them from having a social life.
Because if parents take full responsibility this would've NEVER happened.
Garth was a great man and I will miss him. I'm not going to judge him on what he did on the last hour of his life, but I will celebrate his years on this earth.
Posted by parent of Gunn student, a resident of Los Altos Hills, on Jul 13, 2006 at 9:42 am
Teenagers have to understand that their parents have much more experience in life than they do. They were teenagers once also. It seems a difficult concept for many of them to grasp. Parents cannot stay up all night guarding their chlidren. A person using liquor or drugs may not even know what he/she is doing. Hanging out in the middle of the night may invite other serious problems such as kidnap-ping and rape. Teens sneak out because they feel free and away from parental guidance. Please consider if the thrill of getting away with it (up to now) is worth it. Your parents love you. They are not trying to make your life unhappy by guiding you.
Posted by A family friend, a resident of Menlo Park, on Jul 13, 2006 at 10:48 am
A friend of Garth's family opened an account for Garth's Memorial Fund in Wells Fargo: (the purpose is for his family to bring back Garth's Remains Box to China and build a monument)
The funeral service for Garth Li will be held Thursday 7/13 at 6 p.m. at 980 Middlefield Road. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Garth Li Memorial Fund and be dropped off at the service.
Or you can bring you check to Wells Fargo and ask them to deposit the check to this account:
Posted by gunn student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 11:09 am
Parents and adults,
I do not know the parents of Garth, but I know that Garth was a great kid. And before all of the uninformed individuals start making accusatory remarks against Garth and his parents and ruin his legacy, let me remind you that there is absolutely NO evidence that Garth had been drinking at the time.
It is true that he should not have been driving at the time of the accident, but I feel it is strongly inappropriate for some to say that they are "outraged" by this painful incident.
We (as teens) understand the mistake that Garth made and that he paid the ultimate price for it, BUT we are not outraged, we are saddened and heartbroken. But please, do NOT make the assumptions that he had been drinking/doped up. That is absolutely rude and offensive to his memory.
We all hope to learn from this tragedy, but now is not the time. Now is a time for mourning, so don't pretend to be philosophical, deep-thinking, statistical, or analytical, because it all seems rather charlatanic.
Posted by Katya K., a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 11:27 am
To anyone that is making assumptions about Garth drinking...read this carefully. Never ASS-U-ME. I don't mean to be vulgar but it's true. Im not saying he wasn't drinking, but im not saying that he was either. So don't try to be smart at this point. Garth was one of my best friends, ever since 6th grade. So i get very defensive when i hear these assumptions. What happened, happened. There is nothing more we can do. Garth was the most genuine guy i knew. He cared a whole lot more about others than himself. That's whats harder about this whole situation. Everyone loved him more than he did himself. No matter what argument we'd get into, his smile resolved everything. It was literally impossible to stay mad at him. He said some very interesting things sometimes, but somehow in the end it always made sense. He was a very smart kid, i don't know anyone close to being like him. Everytime he hugged me i could smell his cologne. I missed that smell so much that i went and bought my own Axe old spice so i smell him whenever i want to. Garth was like a superhero. He always rescued me from being bored, or if i was ever in trouble he'd always come by and help. He always shared, he was never selfish. He made me feel safe when he was there. If i was ever scared id always say to myself "it's ok Garth is here, he knows what hes doing". It was very comforting. Sometimes he did make some poor decisions but that's what makes him Garth. That's what makes a person an individual, the little imperfections that he/she has. Who would want a world with "picture perfect" people. I know i wouldnt.
I love you to death Garth. All i want is one more hug and one more smile. I know i will get the chance. Have a good time up there and save me a spot.
Posted by vivvi, a resident of the The Greenhouse neighborhood, on Jul 13, 2006 at 1:29 pm
For help with the issue of teen drinking-and-driving, google Safe Ride--a nationwide program for teens, operated by teens, always with an adult advisor present. Palo Alto Area Red Cross (paarc.org) sponsors a Safe Ride program, now 20 years old!! Participating schools during the school year are Paly, Gunn, Menlo, Sacred Heart, Castilleja, Los Altos, Mountain View, St. Francis, and (back again this Fall) Menlo-Atherton.
Also, get your kids' schools to carry out (parents, students, & teachers)the Every 15 Minutes program--a two-day program simulating in detail the aftermath of an alcohol-related collision! Google that, too! It really gets the message home to teens.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jul 13, 2006 at 1:49 pm
Regarding the tragedy,
The known facts are:
Garth was alone driving a car not belonging to his family at 2:10am in the morning.
Unanswered questions are:
1. Was Garth drunk or sober? Given that funeral services will be held tonight, the answer to this question should already be known by those who need to know. I do hope the authorities will make that information public.
2. Whose car was Garth driving? Someone had to have given him the car key. Who is that person? And why?
3. Did Garth sneak out of his house? Or was he out all evening? Did the parents know where he was?
4. Did someone actually offer alcohol to Garth? This was suggested in a post here that was quickly pulled, perhaps because a student was actually named in that post.
The public has the right to know the cause of this tragedy, and I hope all facts will be announced to the public.
Even as I sympathise with Garth's family and friends, I do not feel there can be a closure to this tragedy until all facts are known. Someone is accountable and it is in everyone's interest to learn who that person or persons are.
I am a firm believer that tragedies like this can and should be prevented. But until we learn what really went wrong, we are in a poor position as parents to prevent another tragedy like this happening again.
Posted by not a parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 3:05 pm
Jane (and others),
Yes, a 16 year old knows right from wrong, and it's true that Garth made a bad decision when he drove that early in the morning.
For the record- as a teen myself, I actually am for more restrictions and harsher punishments on careless teenage drivers. I also think that parents should keep a tight watch on us.
I feel that my point in my previous post was that I don't think we should attach our political/personal agendas to Garth's memory, and support them with unsubstantiated evidence.
And please forgive me if I expressed myself incorrectly, becasue my post was not intended to offend anyone. Because teenage drunk driving occurs so frequently, I wanted to remind everyone that it would not be fair to be accusatory and make assumptions until the facts are known.
We know what Garth did was wrong, and he will never be able to wake up to his choice, the consequences and his responsibility. But, we hope that this is not attributed to the legacy of his life.
Posted by calm down, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 5:27 pm
This was a single-vehicle, single-passenger accident, thank God. So no crime was committed, except by the driver who drove without a license. If he had lived he would not have been jailed. I would suspect a major investigation is not going to happen, but if people want to share what they know (not what they guess) perhaps we can all learn something from it. Perhaps the police will use this incident as an educational tool - they do this often. I hope they do if there are things to learn from it.
Posted by Vyjayanthi Raman, a member of the Terman Middle School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 6:42 pm
I am terribly upset and shocked to hear of Garth's passing. He was a really bright student and a loving person. I will forever treasure his playful smile in my heart.My heart goes out to his parents and family at this time.
Posted by kramer, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 7:33 pm
Now is not the time to be using this as an example of right or wrong, wise or unwise...we should be mourning the loss of a genuinely great guy and celebrating the times we had with him. It's a dishonor to his name and memory for people to point fingers and assign blame at a time when we should be with his family and giving them our support.
Rest in peace Garth, you were one of the nicest guys around and I know you're in a better place now.
Posted by more of a stranger than anything else, a resident of another community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 9:44 pm
It was so long ago that I knew Garth, I can't imagine the teenager he must have been. I knew him in Delaware and am really only on this site because I googled his name after receiving a phone call telling me what I think of now as The Bad News.
Thinking back, realizing that neither of us had a clue that everything would pass so quickly. We were only kids, and I guess he'll always be a kid.
I got my license in June, and my parents won't let me drive in the dark. Wise parents? I've been complaining that they're too strict, but maybe that's exactly what I need.
Life has a funny way of intervening and showing you what's really important.
Posted by Ben, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 10:47 pm
Garth was a great nice and caring individual. In the time i knew him he left such a great impression on me. He became friends with everyone he talked to no matter who the person was. I remember our great times together playing xbox and how fun he would make the game even if we were losing. He was a rare type of person who made this world a better and brighter place. Garth will forever remain in all of our memories.
Posted by Seema, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2006 at 11:52 pm
garth i will never forget that adorable smile you always had when i past you on the way to my next class, i'll never forget the time you were sent to the office for burning bbq sonflower seeds in the back of class during english, i'll never forget that big grey jacket i rarely saw you without. i'll never forget how you always said, "son of a-!" everytime something ticked you off in class. i'm really glad i moved to palo alto and had the pleasure of meeting you and being your friend before you left. REST IN PEACE DUDE.
Posted by a friend, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 14, 2006 at 12:17 am
I knew garth, and it makes so angry that people are turning his death, into a lesson, an example of how reckless teenagers are. Garth was a kind and loving human being. His death was a horrible accident. I am a ashamed to be part of a community that turn Garth's death into an issue about teen driving. Respect his memory.
Posted by Sad Parent, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2006 at 12:36 am
Garth is the only one who knows exactly what happened, and he will never tell. Sad reading through these posts. This forum should be a place for Garth's many friends to lament and mourn, and hopefully help each other heal by sharing their feelings. Any "I told you so" in this forum can only be self-serving.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2006 at 9:29 am
Clippings below from today's Mercury raise some serious questions.
"...CHP officer Mark Melhus is elsewhere in the valley, trying to pin down precisely how Li died. The teen was coming home from a party, Melhus knows, when his car hit an abutment along Interstate 280 going at least 80 mph. Toxicology tests to determine what other factors might have contributed to the crash will take weeks. So far, Melhus said, no one at the party is willing to tell him what happened."
Some friends! When you need them the most, none would step forward. With friends like these, who needs enemies!
"Garth only had a learner's permit. He bought the 1983 BMW over Craigslist for $300. His friends knew about the car. His parents did not."
This boggles the mind. ... [Sentence deleted by Palo Alto Online.]
One also begs to know when the transaction took place, if it is legal for someone to sell a car to a minor, and if Garth was driving around without proper registration.
Posted by V. & W., a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2006 at 9:45 am
Eulogy: Garth Li¡¯s Memorial Service 7/13/06
This evening, we are here to remember Garth Li and to offer our condolences to Garth¡¯s parents and his younger sister.
We don¡¯t know why some things happen. We do know that love and beautiful memories endure beyond the pain of grief. Garth was a shooting star and the light of his path will be long remembered.
Garth was a young man, a son, a brother, and a friend. He helped his parents with their home and looked after his younger sister. One of his friends described him as a ¡°genuine guy ¨C somebody who you could talk to, and somebody who cared. He was always nice to everybody.¡± Garth answered questions with a smile, made his friends laugh, helped cheer everyone up.
Last Mother¡¯s Day, his younger sister found a box of chocolate in the refrigerator with a simple note signed ¡°Love, Garth¡±. Deeply touched, his mother told him that he was growing up and really understood her heart. Garth smiled and stepped back from his mother¡¯s hug: ¡°Not a big deal.¡±
Garth was brilliant, inquisitive, and an independent thinker. He had developed sophisticated computer skills from an early age. With his talent, Garth was invited to a video game show to test the game software and to fight hackers. Garth helped a few Palo Alto friend families to fix their computers with troubles even company IT departments could not figure out.
Garth kept a quotation ¡°Intelligence without ambitions is a bird without wings.¡± Now, a young man with wings has flown into the night. We will always feel blessed by the grace his presence gave us as we strive to transform our ambitions into birds of song.
Garth once told his mother that even if he did not come home every Christmas in the future, he would always call. What is a parent to do when a son calls no more?
Garth, may we call you now?
Your parents want us to tell you that the day you were born was a day of great meaning. You were on their mind and in their heart every single day.
Your parents want us to tell you that they felt lucky and blessed that you spent 16 years with them upon this earth.
You were a good kid, a decent person, and a responsible young man.
You were a hero in your younger sister¡¯s mind.
You made your mother feel safe when your father was on business trips.
Your opinions were valued not only to your friends, but also to your parents.
A son like you brought more than pride¡you brought smiles and laughter.
You brought warmth, caring and meaning.
Son, you will remain part of us. You leave the world, but never our hearts.
The greatest wish of Garth¡¯s parents to Garth¡¯s friends is to learn something from his tragedy:
Please open the door of your room and your mind, not only to your friends, but also to your parents. Your parents care about you, love you, and want to be your good friends.
Please talk at least a few minutes with your parents and family every day. Listen to your parents and other adults besides trusting your own judgment and experience. Tragedy should not be repeated. Young generation must be better than the old one, but please be patient.
Please realize that you are so important to your family and your family is so important to you. Please, all of you who can do so: go home today to hug your parents or allow your parent to give you a hug, and please tell your beloved ¡°I love you!¡±, for when we go home our beloved will not be there any more.
Many kids who went to the Terman Middle School Science Camp know a poem, A Shooting Star:
Posted by aurelle & katya, close friends, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 14, 2006 at 1:57 pm
As friends of Garth, we hate to see people question exactly what happened that night. His friends did everything possible, and would do anything else for him. We only wish that he's remembered and respected as he would want to be. Please don't critisize or attack him, his decisions, or his friends. What happened happened, and it is in the past now. There is no need for rehashing or any repeats. Please respect the one's that love him that he has left behind. We're only trying to do what he would want us too.
Posted by not a parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 14, 2006 at 8:27 pm
John Doe & others,
This forum is being used by all of us as a political forum and I think it is highly rude and inappropriate.
Also, I feel it would be a serious mistake to continue to pretend that we are capable of investigating what the story behind this incident is, especially on this forum which has been referred to by Jay as the Garth Li Remembrance thread.
The highly trained investigators are investigating, and as it was previously said, the people who need to know will know.
Let's remember his life and what a good person he was. I will miss him greatly.
Posted by Simon, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2006 at 8:54 pm
Aurelle & Katya -- you say there is "there is no need for rehashing or any repeats" and we should all move on. I respect your deep grief and your love for your lost friend, but as a parent I'm very worried that there will indeed be repeats unless the community finds out what really happened that night.
Sadly, we’re not even at the point where we can rehash anything because we don’t know all the facts yet. Even more sadly, if the Mercury News is right, it seems some of Garth's friends could help us reach a fuller understanding of how he came to die, but so far they have decided to remain silent.
Wouldn’t the best way to respect Garth's memory be for those of his friends who know what happened to find in themselves the courage to speak honestly about what they know? I can imagine that doing so will be scary and possibly set themselves up for trouble. But it would mean they had matured, too, and taken a very real step towards being moral adults. That, surely, would be a very profound legacy to come from this tragedy.
To Jay Thorwaldson: this may have started out as an enquiry about grief counseling but it quickly became something more. Yes, part of has been a remembrance thread, but from the start there's also been a very strong thread here of anguish from parents (and some teens) who want to understand this incident and who see in the postings of many teenagers an appeal for doing just the opposite. The two are clearly in tension but the public airing of that tension, it seems to me, is something very positive.
Maybe parents and teens can look at these postings and understand each other better. At the heart of this tragedy, it seems, is a teen who doing things his parents were not aware of. That's terrifying to many parents, but no big deal, perhaps, to some of their children. So sure, let's post general thoughts about teen drivers elsewhere, but this seems to me to be a place where an important intergenerational conversation has begun. Rather than seeing it deflected, then, I hope that dialog continues.
In that spirit, I ask the teen contributors to the thread what they think the friends of Garth, who are apparently not talking, should do?
Posted by Translator, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2006 at 11:33 pm
There is an article in the World Journal, a popular Chinese language daily on Garth's memorial service in which the tragedy is covered in far more detail than I have read in the Mercury or else where. I have translated portions for everyone's benefit.
Garth was born in China and came to the States with his parents at age 1.
Garth bought the used BMW behind his parents' back and they didn't find out about this until after the accident.
During this year's Memorial Day long weekend, the family went to Hearst Castle where the last family picture was taken.
On the afternoon of the 5th, Garth's mother came home to find him going out with some friends, but thought he was coming home for dinner. That was the last time she saw him alive.
When Garth didn't come home late that night, and failed to answer calls to his cell, his mother became quite a bit worried. She even wondered if he had been kidnapped but was afraid to call the police. Calls to several friends of Garth turned up no clue.
During the day on the 6th, someone suggested Garth's mother to take a look at a police website, where she saw a notice of an unidentified body waiting to be identified. She called the police in desperation.
Because Garth did not have any ID with him, they had to make positive id using fingerprints from DMV. The parents could not believe it when told Garth was driving on the freeway by himself in a car he had secretly bought. Until then, Garth's mother was allowing him to practice driving to school every morning on her way to work.
The accident was such that Garth's mother never did see his face again.
Posted by mom, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 15, 2006 at 3:44 pm
The scrapbook copies are supposed to be at the chess tables at Mitchell Parkn ($5.00 contribution). I am not sure if there is something to sign there. One copy is going to be brought to Garth's parents some time today.
Posted by Megan .S, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 15, 2006 at 6:16 pm
I still can't believe that you're gone and that I wont get the chance to just talk to you or pass you in the hall ways on my way to class. It's hard comming to terms that I also won't be able to see you're smile or hear you're laugh, but the truth is that when I do reutrn to Gunn for my final year I will see you. you might not be there physically but I know that once in a while I'll catch a glimpse of a grey sweater and think of you or see you standing at the snack bar with a hand full of cookies or breadsticks.:D I don't know why this had to happen and it breaks my heart that it did. but i'm glad that I got the chance to know you for two years (no matter how short they seem now) and that I got the honor of calling you my friend. You are one of the kindess people I know and I will always remember the moments that we shared no matter how few they are. One of the best memories that I have with you is when I got stuck at the Hurricane Katrina benefit thing at Paly. I was soo pissed off that day because my mom made me go. but then I heard a familiar voice and laugh and when I turned around you where sitting in a chair watching these kids wrestle a few yards away. I thanked god that there was someone there that I actually knew and liked so I made my way over to you and we started talking about all the ways that we could duct tape the kids together and get out of there. but one of the best moments of that day was when you asked me how I was and I told you, and you put you're arm around me and said the one thing that you're known for..."Don't worry about it" and to tell you the truth after that I didn't. you had this amazing ability to make even the madest person break into a smile with just a simple sentence or stupid face. thats one of the reasons that no one could stay mad at you... and you used it to you're advantage I'm sure. I hope you know how truly loved and missed you are Garth, I don't know why bad things happen to good people, but they do and it's not fair at all when you loose someone that made and impact on you're entire life without even realizing it. One of the other good memories that I had with you is when we played the game Truth in the S.A.C. during class one day. some of the things that I told you no one knows and i'm not going to say whay we talked about because we swore not to tell anyone. I'm glad I got the chance to spend sometime with you even if it seems short. just know that you will always be in my prayers, dreams and thought every minuet of everyday. I love you and I miss you Garth. And don't worry we'll kick it when I get to those pearly gates- just know that it may take me a while.
Posted by Katya, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 15, 2006 at 7:39 pm
I completely understand where youre coming from. I know youre a parent and i know it's hard to raise kids especially teenagers. You say that it is scary that parents dont know what he was doing 24/7, but when you were a teenager did you tell your parents wehre you were and what you were doing ALL the time? It's jsut part of growing up. Teenagers try to be independent and grow up by themselves, they feel theyre old enough to take care of themseleves and i admit to that. My parents know i dont tell them everything i do because they understand me. We do make some wrong decisions sometimes, but adults do too. Some kids do drink at parties and then drive, but so do adults. they go out to bars and drink and then get in the car. All im saying is that we shouldn't try to teach anyone a lesson, because we already know about the outcome (Garth's death) and theres no need to repeat that since it hurts us evrytime. Everyone knows. done.
Posted by june, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 15, 2006 at 10:43 pm
I have not heard any teenager on this blog take a functional perspective on this tragic event.
I believe that parents, teachers and the police department need to come down very hard on all teenage drinking, drugs and illegal driving in Palo Alto to send a very clear message that this kind of behavior will no longer be tolerated in this community.
Enough is enough.
Starting this school year we need a zero tolerance policy of life endangering behaviour by teenagers particularly driving violations.
Posted by Kirill L, a resident of the The Greenhouse neighborhood, on Jul 16, 2006 at 12:24 am
hey you guys i was thinking i kinda wanted to order silicone rememberance wristbands for garth, just so we have something real that constantly reminds us of him. anybody else think this is a good idea or might want one?
Posted by not a parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 16, 2006 at 9:07 am
For the record, as a teenager I agree with June. I do think the police need to come down harder on drunk driving.
For clarification- I did not watn to defend drunk driving or making dumb mistakes that parents can prevent. I just wanted to make sure that until people know ALL of the facts (and they are becoming more and more apparent), I don't think we should accuse Garth and his parents of being ignorant and such based on nothing more than rumors and speculation.
But, based on the facts we know now, I recognize the decision by Garth to drive without a license at night was undeniably wrong and a bad decision. His decision cannot be defended.
However, let us use this forum as a rememberance forum as has been requested several times, and take the issues that are not necessarily pertinent to Garth Li somewhere else.
Posted by parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 16, 2006 at 12:54 pm
We do not know ALL the facts that led to this tragedy...bottom line...A life has been taken. Our energy needs to be directed towards Garth's parents and sister and all who loved him so deeply. This became so obvious by the HUGE turnout for his memorial service.
Garth's parents are parents just like you and me, constantly helping our children to make the right choices and loving them in the process. We are ALL trying to be the best parents we know how to be. Each stage brings new challenges. Garth's parents were the best parents they could be for Garth. THIS TRAGEDY COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ANY OF US! Please be compassionate.
Posted by John, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 17, 2006 at 10:23 am
What's up here? I posted a reply to this topic and somebody removed it. All I did was talk about my concerns for my own children's lives and mention that there was an item on Backfence Web Link about it.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 17, 2006 at 1:52 pm
John, if you are so concerned for Garth's memory, why do you insist on trying to advertise your link to another web site here? Let's have some respect for what's going on here and not use this message board to promote some business.
Posted by John, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 17, 2006 at 2:03 pm
Gordon, It had nothing to do with that. The first time, I posted it in passing. The second time I was surprised to see my message gone and I posted it to see if the reference was really the problem. Apparently, it wasn't.
Posted by Debbie Djajaremadja, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 17, 2006 at 7:12 pm
I dont know Garth and never had a chance talking to him, but we were in the same art class with Mr.Cooper last year, and he seemed like a really friendly and a nice guy. I also often saw him with his silver jacket that he always wore, and the time he was working in the snack bar. I still cant believe this could happened to such a loveable person, eventhough i dont really know him well. I feel sorry for Li Family, hope they will be strong and get through with this horrible time. If time can go back, i wish i could get to know him better and be a friend with him. It was such a loss for our school, his family, and our community. I believe Garth will live in the hearts of many people.
Posted by Debbie and Brian, a resident of another community, on Jul 18, 2006 at 10:25 pm
Garth was a happy, polite, sincere wonderful friend to my son Brian. I enjoyed his company whenever he was over at our home. It is so tragic that I am having a difficult time processing the whole incident. Brian has been off at Boarding School since last November, and is due to come home for a visit in October. Garth would have been one of the boys on Brian's list to see first. I had to call Brian a few days ago, after hearing of this horrible accident, to tell him, that one of his dear friends has died in a car accident. Brian is devasted, he is feeling great pain and a deep loss for a good friend. I know it is important for Brian, that Garth's Family and his friends know that he is aware of this terrible accident, and that his prayers and thoughts are with each of them. Brian is in the process of writing a letter either to the forum or to Garth's Family, acknowledging Garth's friendship and how much he will be missed. My prayers are with the Li Family, my heart is breaking for you, no Parent or Sibling should ever have to feel such pain. May you find some comfort in reading how Garth's life affected so many people. Garth will always be remembered with a Smile on his Face, open arms, and kind words. Peace be with you.
Posted by Brian Bernheim, a resident of another community, on Jul 20, 2006 at 12:41 pm
I've known Garth for about two years now. I don't have anyting negative to say about him. He always ha a smile on his face, and he laughed at everyting. I havn't seen him in nine months now, buy it seems like I was just with him. I remeber always playing Halo 2 with him, or when we would just sit outside of starbucks and subway all day. Lookoing back, there wasn't really a dull moment with hiim, he always had somthing to do or say. He stayed out of the drama and didn't talk behind people's back. I avn't met a single person who was like Garth. He always wore that big grey jacket, you could imidiatly recognise him. I just founed out a couple of days ago that Garth died, on 7-17-06. I couldn't believe that somthing like that had happened to one of my friends. It's one of those things that you think would never happen to you or your firends. Garth was a good friend and I wish I could have been home. I'll always remember his his smile, face, and precence. Rest In Peaece Garth.
Posted by anonymous, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 24, 2006 at 9:17 pm
Thank you to all the kids that have left such sweet messages about Garth. You helped me understand what he meant to me, to everyone. But I have to ask that the uninformed stop leaving these hurtful "cautionary" posts. We are not stupid. We know the dangers of driving and we know that many don't support teen licenses. But if you would like to reinforce these things, do it somewhere else. Start another discussion board, or find a site more appropriate to this kind of discussion. You are only making this more painful for us.
Posted by Grieving, a resident of another community, on Aug 1, 2006 at 3:06 am
To anonymous, the people that are cautioning teens are not saying that teenagers are stupid. All people make mistakes, whether they are stupid or not. Since we know the outcome of these mistakes, perhaps people will now think twice when they decide to make these mistakes or not, since your fate is made out of many small decisions.
Posted by mourning grandma, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 1, 2006 at 11:32 am
From the Mercury News today:
The Palo Alto teenager whose car crashed into an Interstate 280 abutment July 6 was driving with nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream, San Mateo County coroner's officials said Monday.
Garth Li, who would have been a junior at Gunn High School next month, died of massive cranial injuries in the wreck, an autopsy found. He was on his way home from a party about 2 a.m. that Thursday.
He had a driver's permit that allowed him to drive only if a licensed adult was with him; he wasn't licensed to drive on his own. The 1983 BMW he was driving was bought -- without his parents' knowledge -- for $300 about a month before his death, friends said.
More than 400 people, most his peers, crowded into the Roller Hapgood Tinney funeral home in Palo Alto for services in his honor.
The California Highway Patrol continues its investigation, but its progress has been frustrated because none of the friends he was with earlier in the evening ``are willing to tell me what happened,'' Highway Patrol Deputy Mark Melhus said.
We all mourn the tragic death of Garth.
It would be helpful to know where he was drinking and who gave him the alcohol.
Posted by jenny briggs, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2006 at 4:40 pm
Hi my name is Jenny I did not know Garth or his family, I am searching for all new data that I can find on recent teen crashes, my step-daughter Whitney died last year in a crash, I speak at local schools on teen crashes, to Garths family and friends I am so sorry for your trajedy. Please email me at email@example.com
Posted by friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Nov 17, 2006 at 4:52 pm
Garth was such a great friend and great person. even if you didn't know him that well, he always had a smile on his face and a hug to give. rest in peace garth, you will never be forgotten. you made everybody's lives brighter.
if you didn't personally know garth, you should not judge his actions. especially if your someone in a district no ones even heard of, and its no where near Gunn. Stop using Garth's tragic accident as a "see? i told you so" kind of argument. that is incredibly disrespectable, especially if you didn't know Garth.
to all those parents who are "outraged," again if you didn't know garth, do NOT even post on this forum saying you are angry. We're here to celebrate Garth's life, not be angry at him. Stop talking about how mad you are that kids are breaking the rules. we should be celebrating garth's life and his accomplishments, because had a lot going for him.
of you were garth's parents, you would not want to see negative comments about the death of your son.
stop being so rude, nobody wants to see those comments.
RIP Garth, you are still one of my favorite people.