Safeguarding One Another

February 9, 2020-

An older actor, Orson Bean, was struck by two cars, two days ago, as he walked to a community theater, near his home in Venice, CA.  I’ve been to Venice, a couple of times, most recently last November.  There are a number of homeless people living along Venice Boulevard, both north and south, and in a few pockets close to the beach.

Mr. Bean was not homeless, nor did he appear to suffer from dementia.  He was consciously walking to meet his wife, at the theater.  He was also looking forward to the showing of a play, in which he was involved, at the same theater.  He was following a Venice practice, of crossing the road at its most convenient spot-away from the crosswalk.  I daresay that is a rather widespread phenomenon, worldwide. It can work, on occasion, if drivers notice the pedestrian in time, but it is never inherently safe.

The larger issue here is, to what extent are we each other’s keepers?  I have stated, and maintain, that one cannot regard others as mere extensions of self.  The world is full of homeless people, dysfunctional families, troubled schools, fractured environment.  No one can resolve even one of these, in and of him/herself, but try we do, and must.

There are, as the death of Orson Bean underscores, more common occurrences, to which we can contribute mightily.  Los Angeles, of which Venice is a part, has an initiative to curb traffic-related deaths.  Phoenix, which is not all that far from here, has many of the same issues, relative to motor vehicle-pedestrian collisions.  Other cities are certainly in the same situation.  For any initiative to work, behavioural change has to be enacted-and before that, must come an attitudinal adjustment.

It would seem, then, that the mindset of consciously looking out for our fellows, continuously, daily, until it becomes second nature, will drastically curb much of the mayhem that brings grief to so many-unnecessarily.  It can’t just be of the New Year’s resolution variety.  It must become ingrained.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Safeguarding One Another

  1. I hadn’t heard about Mr Bean, I remember him from my childhood. Sad to hear of his death. You make several good points. One about the inability to fix everything, you’re right, but we do have the ability to make small changes, where we are.

    In regards to pedestrians crossing streets somewhere other than a crosswalk. I’m not sure why it’s changed, but it happened a lot many years. In the city I live in, not to long ago, instituted a policy stating that people caught jaywalking, would be ticketed. How well it’s working because we have had at least two, maybe three deaths from the above mentioned behavior. This can be prevented.

    Signed, a Saggittarius peacemaker

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  2. How sad that Orson Bean died the other evening. It’s always been illegal to jaywalk in California cities. It is one of the best ways to create an accident. Even so, drivers are the ones at fault if they hit a pedestrian. Always mindful of this, it’s appropriate to cross a road at a crosswalk. In addition, I’m always surprised at the number of people who wear black at night, jaywalking as they wish. Streets and parking lots are not always well lit — dark clothing can make one almost invisible at night. I always wait until I know an approaching car has acknowledged my presence before I walk across his path — I fully believe that the pedestrian shares the liability for such accidents. Unfortunately, it was a second car which could not stop when Bean had fallen that hit him with the killing blow — at least both drivers stayed to help, avoiding the ubiquitous hit-and-run!

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    • I have a policy of NEVER crossing a street on foot, until any approaching driver has acknowledged my presence-even when I’m in a crosswalk. Yes, dark clothing is a serious nuisance,at night. Fortunately, thus far, I have at least been able to discern moving figures, when driving in very dark conditions.

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  3. So sad. We are our brother’s keeper whether we wish it or not. As Janet said the pedestrian is also partly responsible to maintain safe practices – light clothing and using the crosswalks. Still I know the driver must take some responsibility as well. A tragedy that could have been prevented if everyone had been more conscientious.

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    • It is my understanding that Orson Bean was hit because he was too focused on getting to his wife. That just compounds the tragedy. My Grandma told us, “The world doesn’t stop, just because you are excited. Always pay attention to what’s around you.”

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