Monday, June 29, 2009

It could happen to you: random violence and head trauma

Michael Jordan's father was killed on July 23, 1993 while he napped at a rest stop, by two people who subsequently stole his car.

I remember thinking when I heard this bit of news that this was something of an inflection point: random violence was no longer something that just touched the anonymous masses, but now it even touched celebrities and their families. This either said something about random violence, or about the preponderance of celebrities in our society.

Less than four years later, on January 16, 1997, Bill Cosby's son Ennis was murdered. He had stopped to change a flat tire and was accosted by two people who killed him while in the process of robbing him.

At this point I decided that no one was safe.

Natasha Richardson died on March 18, 2009, two days after sustaining an apparently minor head injury in a fall.

Now pitchman Billy Mays has also died, possibly as a consequence of a head trauma sustained during a hard airplane landing in Tampa. Even if the cause of death is not due to a concussion or a brain bleed, it is possible that the trauma was sufficient to dislodge a plaque deposit, and this led to his death.

We all know about deaths from violence, especially random violence. But what about deaths resulting from head trauma? The cases of Natasha Richardson and Billy Mays are well-known. How many people have sustained similar head traumas and died as a result, perhaps days after the incident? I know of at least one - my father. How many other people go to their graves without the true cause of their deaths becoming known?


Super G said...

I once rode in a tow truck and the driver had just lost his 7 year daughter to an aneurysm. She was fine, complained of a bad headache, then laid down and died. You could feel his pain and disbelief that something like this had happened to his only child.

I don't personally know what to make of these stories or your Dad's. I do believe that we shouldn't take our lives for granted because they can be so fragile. We ought to strive to do good things. I think you probably think that way too.

I hope you are doing well and holding your head high.

hedera said...

I agree with Super G. I wince every time I hear people yelling about the "right to life." Life isn't a right. It's a gift, and it can be taken away at any time. It will be taken away some day - the only question is when.