Front page of the Tribune, Sunday Oct 17, 2010. "Air crash kills 4 from SLO County." Roger Lyon, a north county attorney and rancer and the pilot of a small plane crashed in the fog near San Quintin, Baja California. The plane was carrying Doctors James Thornton and Graciela Sarmiento, and medic and Cal Poly student (studying to become a doctor) Andrew Thiel. They were volunteers with Flying Samaritans, a group who regularly flew to San Quintin to bring much needed medical care to the people there.
To the left, same page, same edition, the headline, "Fatal wreck called deliberate." Jerardo Iriarte, nineteen-years old, "in an attempt to harm himself" drove his car at over 100 mph off Highway 101. The car careened down an embankent, through a chain link fence and smashed into Bruce Mallin, 63, and his wife, Marjorie, 59. They apparently had been vacationing from Washington state and had been walking along Price Street in Pismo Beach on that lovely fall morning. They died at the scene. Jerado was arrested.
A great writer, Thornton Wilder, perhaps, could make sense or even "art" from those headlines. I certainly can't. The cruel, selfish pointless stupidity of one human story versus the love and care and generosity of the samaritans of the other human story is simply too baffling for me. I suspect sad silence is the only suitable response.