Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Trying to make sense of the senseless
After the horrible weekend of cycling tragedies in the Bay Area, I was having trouble being motivated and staying focused yesterday (turn head to view pic till I figure out how the hell to rotate it - sorry!).
To summarize: Sean Smith (Team Oakland) was hit and left for dead Friday morning while commuting to work in Oakland. Thankfully, he's alive. Then the tragedy with Kristi Gough and Matt Peterson on Sunday morning. Then I heard that three Alto Velo riders were descending Skyline near Alice's when a car turned directly in front of them, and this was Sunday afternoon! Thankfully, after a trip to the ER, the three of them are all alive too. The only bright spot was that the man who ran over MaryAnn Levenson was sentenced last Friday and taken into custody directly in front of her. Thank God for that. I don't think the sentence was stiff enough, but at least something was done, and the Levenson's can finally heave a small sigh of relief and get on with their lives.
After reading and re-reading the stupid bit of "journalism" in the Mercury News regarding Sunday's horrible accident, it seemed to me that they glossed over what the cop DID and without actually saying IT, lay blame on the cyclists. I was seething. What the hell happened to reporting the FACTS? I don't care what your opinion is, as a reporter, it's your JOB to report the facts. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but damn. I sat down and wrote a scathing letter to the editor of the Merc News, cc'ing the ass-clown reporter that originally penned the piece. I chewed them out for exactly the above: slanting the story to make it sound like it was the cyclists' fault, and irresponsible journalism. What's happened to innocent until proven guilty? We've become a society of guilty until proven innocent, which is so back-ass-wards, and I blame the media. I threatened to pull my subscription (which I've held for six years) if they didn't accurately report the story.
Now I'm not saying that my letter has even been READ yet, as I'm sure the cycling community (and hopefully the community at large) railed on them for that piece of garbage they printed in the paper yesterday. But today, they printed (front page again, mind you) a completely re-written piece. They even added two reporters to the story, which I'm assuming helped the original journalist, since it was clear that the person couldn't write their way out of a paper bag.
I left work early yesterday because I just was so profoundly sad. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be home. And I certainly didn't want to be on my bike. So I drove to the ocean. The long way. Of course, from Mountain View, the ocean IS the long way. But I needed to clear my head and get some perspective. As I stood and took in the view and wonderful smells, I hoped that this tragedy would be treated delicately, and an investigation would be swift and impartial. And that justice will be served. I decided to go back to something I used to do working in an AIDS Hospice in Seattle. I'm going to plant some things in honor of Kristi and Matt. I'm going to look for a plant or flowering plant which will return year after year. Something beautiful to look at, and that won't fade away at the end of the fall. I'm also going to plant something that will keep on giving. A tomato plant (or 3). I've been wanting to do this for awhile, and now I have the impetus to make it happen.
Call someone you love, and tell them so. Life is short.