Our community arrived on the world stage recently for actually having hosted the death of a celebrity. Several days ago, a high-speed car crash took the life of actor Paul Walker right here in Valencia. For days following, even after the news faded from national attention, some of our local news sources continued to keep the ball rolling.
The car crash that killed the celeb occurred on the last day of November. The story has maintained front page news in what once was considered a local newspaper source. It is depressingly evident that said paper is now aiming for tabloid status: since December 1 and every day thereafter through December 9 (the date of this writing) not a single daily issue failed to include an angle on the same story.
The story eclipsed Pearl Harbor Day memorial events (December 7, for those of us that missed it). Initial reporting failed to include the name of the other person who lost his life in the fiery crash. How must the family of Roger Rodas have felt? How many noticed their loss that day? Or was he not sufficiently important to mourn, as he was not of adequate social stature?
Perhaps it becomes evident that mourning is not what we are feeling for Walker, nor how we felt for Michael Jackson. Perhaps we are upset about the loss of promised future entertainment or the relationship that we feel we have with our favorite performers. Or, maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe we’re just hooked on what’s trending.
We continue to hang on every newscaster’s word. And we feed the frenzy with every post and every tweet. Was the cause of the crash of the shiny, red, 600-horsepower Porsche a malfunction? We can’t wait for the toxicology report! Maybe there’s more to this juicy story. I heard someone stole a part off the car! Dude, that car part could be worth more one day than a piece of James Dean’s last ride! If I had it, I’d sell it to a museum!
We are a star-struck society.
Did anyone notice that Nelson Mandela passed away on Thursday, December 5? This man was as rare and precious a gift to mankind as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Statistically, it is not likely that those of us alive today will live alongside such an affecting and influential example of humanity again. Mr. Mandela didn’t just talk the talk—something we find all too often in our leaders. He walked the walk. For 27 years he lived imprisoned by the government of his homeland in an effort to win freedoms and rights for an oppressed majority. He never knew, through those interned decades, if he would ever see freedom, and was absolutely willing to die in prison for the cause.
In all of our history, the flag of the United States has only ever flown at half-staff on government buildings for four foreign dignitaries – until now. Nelson Mandela makes the fifth.
Dude, are you tellin’ me that flag isn’t hangin’ low for Mr. Fast & Furious?