It has only been a few days since we heard of the public caning of gay men in Banda Aceh, Indonesia and – while we believe we have enough issues to remedy right here at home – we also could not help but note that the very region mentioned was rocked by a thunderous 7.0 magnitude earthquake today.
Some sort of divine editorial comment? A warning to earthbound men from a higher authority? Perhaps. If so, there may be more of that in the forecast. We have a lot to answer for, apparently.
We have been quietly watching, and writing about, a number of issues impacting life right here in the 24/680 of late. We even went out on that ever-creaking limb to make a few predictions that, unfortunately, we’re seeing realized.
Some of those realizations seem almost allegorical, painful lessons inflicted on neighbors and others we know whose downfalls, injuries, and even deaths could be taken as harsh life lessons driving home broader messaging about real-world issues and concerns.
A highly regarded Pleasant Hill public official literally dies under the wheels of progress while on an afternoon bike ride. The “quiet kid” from high school vents his frustrations publicly in a Pleasanton grocery store and dies from injuries/conditions incurred during his subsequent arrest by police. A “super mom” addicted to opioids is found slumped over and unresponsive in a public restroom.
It doesn’t stop there. The “mega-fires” that roared through much of the North Bay last year and which were deemed the worst firestorm the state has ever seen – stand to be eclipsed by this year’s iteration as even more timber, and more homes, go up in smoke – a portent perhaps of things to come. Then the widow of an active Orinda man who dies prematurely while on a morning run receives at $9,600 bill from their health care provider 19 days after his death in a corporate effort to “balance our books.” This would seem like a case of excruciatingly poor timing, at least, were it not for the constant drumbeat on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle imposed by this company and others like it.
Now, we are commonly if rather unfairly (we think) referred to as “ghouls” and “catastrophe voyeurs” here at NEWS24/680, largely because we are usually the first to bring word of these and other events to our readership and beyond. Some people seem to feel we derive a deviant rush from what we do when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s why you’ll not find us joining in the traditional media “packaging” of local vigils and funerals. We have been asked to attend, and we’re sometimes asked why we chose not to – and it’s because we feel like interlopers in the presence of grief and would indeed feel ghoulish bringing that portion of the news stream to our readership. We’ll leave that to television.
A news event, however traumatic it may be as it’s unfolding and no matter how jarring it may be to some, needs to be covered and will be – at least by us while we’re here. The grieving must be done by friends and family.
So, we watch, write and wait – for the occasional kernel of truth or more of that divine commentary as it rumbles earthward – and we hope for the aid of some inner power to help us figure out what it all means. That’s all we can do.