Due to my Twitter feed addiction and my strange overwhelming sadness on the tragedy of Paul Walker’s death, I managed to see this disheartening picture:
And I realize I had WAY more to say on the subject than just a 140 character rebuttal. Because hold the fuck up. And let’s take this one step at a time.
His name is/was Roger Rodas, and he was a great friend of Walker’s, and driving the doomed Porsche Carrera when it crashed. He was the father of two adorable and well-loved children, one of whom allegedly tried to help his father out of the burning car. He leaves his 38-year-old wife a widow, and many charities and businesses without an integral part of their running. More in-depth details can be found here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, etc. The articles and profiles on Rodas is not slight, and in the days since his death, more people are searching the internet to “get to know” him.
That might sound unfortunate, or pitiful, to some (such as the folks that retweet that picture above). You might hear claims that if you search for a profile on him, you’re somehow feigning care and abusing discretion. You didn’t care then, so you shouldn’t care now.
That is abhorrent.
What we have on our hands is one of many, many tragedies that enter our lives on a daily basis, due to this being life and existence, and all. There is no way to explain the emotions associated with this sort of horrific ending of life, and you aren’t helping anyone by associating those emotions with falsity and empathy-shaming. I didn’t know Paul Walker, I’m just a girl from Delaware who admired his public identity, performance and outward-facing morals. He seemed like a great guy who was liked the world over, and though our lives would close to never come to pass, I was depressed to hear the news Saturday. That means in no capacity that I did not care about this other man, this racer who was the ill-fated driver in a car that was known to be a fuck-up when it came to handling.
Is it so surprising that news would fly around the internet and water cooler conversation that a movie star had been killed and oh, how tragic and heartbreaking that is? The movie-going public, and females and males who had a tendency to raise eyebrows at Walker’s stunning, soul stealing eyes and general good looks, felt in a way that they had come to “know” him. I hope at this point in life, with all the research, polls and papers history has carried, that we understand it’s not strange to feel a sense of loss when public figures die. Is it our fault, as mainstream media lovers or even dabblers, that we had no idea who Roger Rodas was? Of course not. He was much like us; a job and personal life mainly devoid of paparazzi and cameras. But we aren’t lacking in learning and sharing.
It will give nothing to the twittersphere to post a picture such as that. You are trying to shame people in feeling guilty, when they have nothing to feel guilty for. Rodas’ death does not make Walker’s death less important, and vice versa. Two great and beloved men died that day, and it does nothing short of making us all feel some feels.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Oh wait, and this – rest in peace, Roger and Paul. You will be missed , loved, and thought of across the world.