Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sometimes there is a bear

The person who tells me is crying. "He was my friend," he says.

I can't say the same, but I saw Brad almost every day I was at the station. He smiled when he said hello, and sometimes we talked, about things that you talk about with people you don't know that well: the weather, fires that were going on, nothing that really matters.  I don't have a part in this story, but I will put my arms around my friends and hear theirs.

I've stopped reading the comments on the news stories. When did we become such a society of victim blamers? "Stay out of the woods," one person wrote. "He should have had a gun," someone else typed (because guns solve everything, apparently). I doubt some of these people have ever been on a hiking trail, and probably none of them have ever been close to a grizzly bear and seen how fast it can move, how much power it carries.

"Sometimes your number is up," C. says.  I briefly argue, but give up. It probably makes him feel better to believe this, but I can't.  I can't handle the idea that we move in a predetermined lockstep, our lives and deaths already plotted and programmed  before we are even born.

Here's what I think the truth is.  I think you can do everything right, and one day get on your bike like you have many times before, expecting to come home and see the people you love and go to work the next day.  Maybe at that moment you are thinking how warm the sun is and how good it feels to be moving.  Maybe you feel glad to be alive on such a glorious afternoon. And then there is a bear, and the bear is just being a bear, not malicious or predatory, just a bear that is scared.  And then everything changes.

I think in almost everyone's life there is a bear at some point, something so big and unexpected that all your preparations don't mean anything. You're just out there living your life, and you come around a corner and there it is.  It's not fate or destiny.  It just is.

Rest in peace, Brad.  I wish I had known you better.

http://flatheadbeacon.com/2016/07/02/search-bear-killed-man-near-glacier-park-winds/



11 comments:

  1. What a sad thing to happen. I'm sorry for his friends and family. And I agree with you...we have become terrible to victims. Caught in a mass shooting? People instantly start defending the gun. It's really sad and a big reason why I try to just read the headlines and not stay for the comments.

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    1. I think it's the internet anonymity fueling a lot of this. It's been a long time, but when Baby Jessica fell in the well I don't remember a lot of anger towards the parents, just a lot of hope and wishing for her to be rescued. I'm sad about how angry and self-righteous people seem to be now.

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    2. I remember that as well...and you're right. If that happened now, her parents would have been eviscerated.

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    1. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I read the comments to get an idea of what you were reading and was very saddened and repulsed. Do people forget they are reading about a real person? Your friend was special - working to serve the community. We need more people like him. RIP Brad.

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    2. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I read the comments to get an idea of what you were reading and was very saddened and repulsed. Do people forget they are reading about a real person? Your friend was special - working to serve the community. We need more people like him. RIP Brad.

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    3. Thanks Northco and Sunflower. :(

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  3. I was in Helena last weekend and read about this in the local paper. What a tragic encounter and doubly tragic that the victim was someone you knew. And, yes when something bad happens, it's sad that some folks think they need to assign blame. We all take risks in life and sometimes, even though you may take all the necessary precautions, the unexpected does happen. You put it very well - in all our lives we will at sometime encounter a "bear." What our world needs is more compassion and less finger-pointing.

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  4. Rest in peace my friend.

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