Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Students Should Learn Lesson from Tragedy
The tragic death of Paula Gmelch on March 1st has brought home the reality of the world in which we live. Pedestrians face dangers every day, and though students, faculty and the wider USF community may be focused on our classes and our social lives as we pass from one part of campus to another, the truth is our school is located directly adjacent to some of the busiest streets in San Francisco.
While it is unclear at this time the exact cause of the accident, it is clear that conditions at that intersection can make for a treacherous crossing, especially when coupled with the scarcity of parking and the distractions of modern driving. This terrible event should give us all pause when we are driving, so that we are careful to pay attention not just to our immediate goal of reaching our destination, but also to others on the road who have a right to get to their destination unharmed.
I did not know Paula Gmelch, but it is impossible not to empathize with those who did. The deep sadness and lost they feel must be hard to bear, especially for Paula's husband Walter Gmelch, who lives just a few doors down from where his wife was killed. My most heartfelt condolences go out to him and all of Paula's friends and family, some of whom have had the opportunity to express their sorrow at the memorial on Turk and Chabot.
A death so sudden and unexpected leaves us all shaken and wondering what to do next. I hope and pray that at the very least, USF students will take this as a sign to drive safely. Paula Gmelch's passing should be a cautionary tale that being late to class is not the end of the world.