Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tragedies

A lot has been said about the tragedy in Mexico that claimed the life of one cyclist and injured at least 10 others. I can't even begin to find all the links and discussions about this terribly senseless tragedy.

The best commentary I've seen on this though belongs to Dave Moulton. It's no secret that I have immense respect for the Dave as a framebuilder, but I also have great respect for him as a writer. His post is eloquent and fitting. I won't even bother to try and say anything more because he does it far, far better than I could ever hope to.

My good friend Stevil at How to Avoid the Bummer Life had a post up yesterday about the incident. Then he pulled it down and replaced with another post- trying to bring back a little less of the Bummer. But ultimately that post came down too- after all, the blog is a marketing extension of the Swobo brand. As a marketer myself, I can see the reasoning... but as a cyclist I can also see the need to share the tragedy as a way to remind all to be careful and thankful and to pray for those touched by this incident. Solidarity and community are really important- I know this now more than ever.

My friends from the Spokesmen and I have been talking about this incident via email this morning as well. Is it good or bad to show the terrible image and is it good or bad to really even discuss it. There are concerns over the friends and families of the injured and killed, as well as sheer decency over continually spreading the image of somebody losing their life in such a terrible way. Like CyclingNews did with their mention of the incident, I've chosen not to show the picture. I have chosen not to because it simply hurts to much to see. I was the victim of a hit and run crash nearly four years ago and I am now recovering from injuries in a racing crash. Knowing a little too intimately how the survivors feel makes it hard to look at or show the picture. Also, I must admit that if pictures existed of my accident, I would feel a little sick seeing them on the Internet- because it was traumatic and was something that emotionally impacted my daughter as well as me (since she was there).

My point is that I do feel it is necessary to talk about this and to be upset about it. But I think we all make our own judgment calls on how we choose to do it and what we choose to say, or show. I'm lucky to be alive today, as are the 10 other crash victims. I give thanks every day that I get to see my kids and deal with the healthcare headaches I have. Life is a blessing and is never a guarantee. I share in the pain of this tragedy and I hope that everybody who reads this will pray for the victims and the people who love them. I also hope that everybody will take a moment to love themselves and their families and friends. I've said it before, but life is far too short and we never know when our understanding of it will change dramatically and without warning.

Ok, enough with the heavy thoughts for today.

Tim

8 comments:

jquaglia said...

Good post Tim. All we can do from such incidents is (1) try to prevent them without taking away personal freedoms and (2) use them as a reminder of our own precious time on this planet.

Dave Moulton said...

Tim,
Thanks for the link, and the kind comments. This post was probably one of the biggest challenges I have faced on my blog. I agonized over whether I should even comment, I hate dwell on negativity; but you are right we are a community and we must stand together during times like these.
Dave

GB said...

Well said Tim. I agree with you and the comments above. I just hope that this tragedy and the wide publicity surrounding it might help to avert future tragedies.

-gb

j.d. kimple said...

I too am on the fence on whether or not to show the photo. I understand that it is a very painful image to see. I feel very, very sorry for the racers and their families. Having experienced a death very recently if I were a family member I wouldn't want to be so constantly reminded of that horror.

On the other hand, many people are visually oriented and wouldn't read the accompanying story without the photo. As well I think some people need to see this as they need something quite graphic to wake them up. People need to know what happened and that this can NOT happen again.

Which is the "right" way to handle this? I don't know that there is any right way. But I understand and appreciate your view.

spokejunky said...

On a lighter note. Check out the Inferno team at the paralympics track. Double A enduro-lung and partner Matt did pretty well.

Anonymous said...

very well put, Tim. it allows me to get a better perspective on how much news and visuals is too much.

much appreciated,
eric

Mark Ritz said...

Amen, brother, amen...

James said...

Someone emailed the photo to me with a message like “this is why I don’t ride on the road”. I hate to hear that reaction and I think that is the wrong message to take away from this horrible tragedy. The root of the problem is driver inattentiveness and that is something that affects not just cyclists, but also pedestrians and other motorists. In this case, the dramatic picture has caused this story to spread, but the sad fact remains that horrific (and preventable) traffic fatalities occur every day and most people pay little attention to them. In this country, we should all be outraged at the 40,000 deaths that occur on our roads annually, but most people just consider them “accidents”.

Cars can be useful, but they are also extremely dangerous and unfortunately many people take the act of driving one way too casually. In this case, it sounds like the driver was drunk and we should have NO tolerance for that. Very few people would defend a drunk driver, but they think it is OK to get behind the wheel when they are sleepy, talking on the phone, eating a burger, etc. That casual attitude about the most dangerous activity that most people participate in on a regular basis is exactly why highway fatality rates continue to climb. I firmly believe that it is every driver’s responsibility to pay 100% attention to the road at all times. There should be nothing else competing for your attention when you are piloting 2 tons of metal near other human being. It seems like common sense, so why don’t people get that?