I woke up this morning to news of a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California. A bunch of Irish students were celebrating a twenty-first birthday when the 4th floor balcony collapsed and pancaked into the balcony below. Six died, seven more were hospitalized, and two are in critical condition. One minute they were partying and celebrating life, and then everything changed in an instant. It’s not fair. You try to make sense out of it. You can’t.
Every summer, thousands of Irish students come to the work in the US with J1 visas. I work in a San Francisco restaurant that employs a handful of them each year. I’ve met a lot of Irish people over the years. They are great people. They work hard and they play hard. They are close-knit group, and treat each other like family. Ireland is small so they tend to stick together, but they aren’t exclusive. Anybody who wants to party with an Irish J1 is more than welcome to (and they know how to party). That’s why it sucks so much when something like this happens. They don’t deserve it. Nobody does, but especially not them.
This is a tragedy. It’s a punch to the stomach. All you can do is try to gather up the pieces and move on, but you can never fully recover from something like this. My thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends to all those affected by this unfortunate accident. It’s a reminder that life can change in an instant. Never take anything for granted because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Critically Rated at 3/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young
I didn’t want to write about this. I wanted to write about something funny, something happy. But this is not a happy time in America. It’s almost commonplace for a school shooting to happen every few months. I doubt this one would have made such an impact if it weren’t for the victims being so young. The shooter (I won’t mention that’s scum’s name, he doesn’t deserve it) primarily went after kindergarteners. I know he had mommy issues, but how does killing six-year-olds solve anything? What did they ever do? Did they have the audacity to have their whole lives ahead of them?
There are waves of victims in any massacre. You have the ones that get killed, paralyzed, scarred for life. You have the ones who escaped with psychological damage, wondering if it will happen again every time they go out in public places, asking why they survived when others didn’t. You have the families and friends who will never get to see their loved ones again, hating themselves for not getting the chance to say a real goodbye. And you have the rest of the general public, quietly grieving, secretly relieved that it happened somewhere else and not to them. But everybody is asking “WHY!?!”
Maybe there is no why. Maybe there is no because. But good things always come out of a tragedy. You find out what really matters, what you really care about. I just wish we didn’t have to pay the price to be reminded so often. Life is unpredictable; you have to take it as it comes. Tell the people you care about that you care about them. Tell your family you love them. Tell your friends that you’re friends for a reason. Enjoy all your laughs. Cherish every kiss. And always say goodbye.
Critically Rated at 1/17
Written, Edited, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young