Thursday, March 30, 2006

Life is Short

Blah... the rain has stopped... for a little while at least. Just in time before the collective goes bonkers. It's been hard to write this week... a week full of sadness and despair. Last weekend, an old friend of this company experienced a horrific incident that keeps reminding me of how small and petty our daily annoyances really are. She is a retired ARTA guide from the late 70's & early 80's and also worked for W.E.T. during the mid-80's. A long time community member of the Lotus-Coloma Valley near the South Fork American River, she was in the Sacramento area celebrating a family birthday party at a local chain restaurant... how benign, how common an event...

Leaving the busy restaurant, filled with high school prom parties and their own large birthday gathering, she exited the parking area only to go back in for a bathroom break. Her brother continued behind her in his own car with his wife and two children. When she came out, a horrific scene unfolded. A crazed, meth-head, deranged freak, for no reason, had shot her beloved brother in the head. A surreal scene of CSI gore unfolded as she desparately tried to help with his critical wounds. A slow-motion nightmare, a screaming wife and our friend kicked into the lifesaving gears of a river guide who is trained in wilderness and emergency medicine.

We got the news the next morning by phone, after reading about the incident in our local newspaper... oh, yeh, another drive-by shooting. Next. Probably gang related, so the mind thinks, as we continued through our morning read. It was only after, when I heard the real news, that I went back to read the story again. A father/husband was also shot by the same insane gunman, and he died at the scene. A well-known cameraman in the local Sacramento media, he was enjoying a date night with his wife while his son was in the same restaurant celebrating prom night just a few tables from the birthday celebration. Another man was shot near a hamburger restaurant and was released yesterday. Our friend's brother; he remains in critical condition.

We ask this small community of river rafters, guides, rafting companies and all the peripheral associations to this watery world to stop briefly for a small moment and send your prayers to their devasted family... and then, grab your loved ones and hold them tight and put away petty differences, stupid arguments and love them dearly and completely. Life is just too short.
W.E.T. River Trips

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