Tragedies Happen Every Day, Why Do Some Get More Attention Than Others?
The absolutely devastating tragedy that took two young lives last weekend has been the talk of the Albany area. 17 year old Shen High students, Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, were killed in a two-car crash caused by the second driver who had alcohol in his system when the accident occurred.
Two other students survived, Matthew Hardy (from Shen) and Bailey Wind (from Shaker High). Bailey is currently in critical condition and Hardy is said to be in fair condition as of Monday afternoon.
Dennis Drue, the 22 year old driver responsible for the incident, was said to be aggressively switching lanes north of the Twin Bridges when he rear-ended Stewart’s SUV. Charges are pending against the man.
There has been an outpour of support from the school districts and the Albany area as a whole. Even NFL superstar, Tim Tebow, has extended his support to one of the surviving victims. He placed a phone call to Hardy last night around 9pm. Bailey also received a phone call from a prominent sports figure in Olympic swimmer, Missy Franklin. Wind is a member of Shaker High’s swimming team.
The story is tragic, devastating and heart-breaking. My deepest condolences go out to all the victims’ families and friends. The story especially touched home with me today as I found out that the deceased Stewart was recently named to the Section II All-Star football team. As I sit here in my office, I’m staring at MY Section II All-Star jersey from my senior year at Saratoga Springs High School. Two young, high school couples enjoying a college basketball game on a Saturday night? Sounds comparable to a typical weekend for me when I was their age. It could have been me. It could’ve been you. Unfortunately, it was Stewart and Rivers. Two lives that were taken far too soon.
I have yet to mention the tragedy on-air during my weekday show, 3pm-7pm on Hot 99.1. A colleague asked me today, why wouldn’t you talk about it? Everyone is! For one, I consider my radio show to be an escape from the negative and heart-wrenching stories we see + hear from every local news source. Secondly, I just can’t shine a light on this horrible situation without giving the proper attention to similar stories that haven’t received NEARLY as much press or local support.
On Monday, 29 year old Michael Anderson appeared in court. He is accused of killing a 20 year old woman by the name of Tonette Thomas. Not only was this man allegedly responsible for Thomas’s death, he severely injured her aunt and sister during the attack.
Anderson was dating Thomas’s sister. When the relationship went sour, sources close to the family say he would not leave the sister alone. Donations are being made to Trinity Alliance to help pay for Thomas’s funeral.
Neighbors and friends of Thomas have been mourning her death for just over a week. This horrible stabbing incident seems to have been overshadowed by the death of these Shen students.
Sometimes reading words on paper can come across the wrong way, so I’m trying to choose what I write carefully here… but what if this same incident happened to take the lives of 2 students from Albany or Schenectady High on the inner-city streets? Would it garner as much attention as it has for the kids from the Suburbs? Stabbings, shootings and attempted murders seem to happen weekly within the Albany area. Are we so numb to these frequent occurrences that we forget about stories like this as soon as our local news stations segue into the next story? It disgusts me. What makes a death due to a drunk driver more tragic and devastating than a life taken by a deranged man wielding a knife?
Please don’t interpret any of my insight as a “race thing.” It’s not about “white and black”, it’s about “cities and suburbs.” The fact that tragedies in the Suburbs overshadow the more frequent City incidents isn’t fair. I’m not trying to take anything away from the two students who’s lives were tragically taken. My heart breaks for those close to them (and anyone who has lost a loved one to a drunk driver). Simply consider this a friendly reminder that stories like this happen all the time. If you’re thinking of participating in any of the vigils or benefits set up for the deceased students, I ask you to please consider Tonette Thomas and her family, who are desperately seeking help to pay for her funeral.