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.