Two deaths, just a few days apart: one the source of global grief; the other, barely noticed.
When the news broke that actor Paul Walker had died tragically in a car accident a few days ago, few could have predicted the almost global outpouring of grief. Newspapers, magazines and websites were filled with images of the film star whose Paul Newman-esque blue eyes belied his age. Facebook pages were (and are) dedicated to him; fellow celebrities gave press conferences and wrote poems in his honour. Questions were asked about the way in which the car was being driven at the time of the accident, and concerns were raised over the inherent safety of the vehicle itself. And the production of the seventh instalment in the multi-billion Fast and Furious movie franchise – in which Walker made his name – ground to a halt, possibly forever.
Compare that to the equally untimely and tragic death of Angel Garcia. Who is Angel Garcia, I hear you ask?
Angel Garcia was a 25-year old demolition worker with Lindamwood Demolition who fell four storeys to his death at Kyle Field yesterday.
Unlike Walker, there has been no media storm surrounding Garcia’s death. At the time of writing, a Google search shows just one syndicated story that has been repeated across the US media. That syndicated story is accompanied not by a photo of Garcia but of a taped- off demolition site. There are no press conferences, celebrity tributes or Facebook pages dedicated to his name. While an OSHA investigation into the circumstances of his death is ongoing, no-one is questioning the inherent safety of the demolition methods employed. And while work might have stopped temporarily to allow that investigation to take place, it is only a matter of time before the site re-opens and work recommences without Garcia.
Of course, Garcia was not associated with a series of increasingly ludicrous movies that – at last count – had netted more than $1.5 billion. His face wasn’t used to sell aftershave; he didn’t attend red carpet premieres with rappers and supermodels. But Angel Garcia had family, friends and loved ones; people that depended on him; people that he depended on. He was someone’s son. And at just 25, he still had much to live for.
Sadly, celebrities are a rare commodity and bankable movie stars are like precious and unflawed diamonds that might come along, perhaps, once in a lifetime.
Demolition workers, however, are neither precious nor rare. They are like grains of sand in a desert. They are, apparently, expendable.