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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

The Randomness Of Life

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      At first, you felt sorry for the victims.

     Then, you probably thought, "It could've been me."

     The O'Donnell Park parking garage tragedy claimed one life and left two others hurt while raising questions about Milwaukee County facilities and deferred maintenance.

      Mayor Tom Barrett wouldn't go there this morning when he joined us live on Wisconsin's Morning News, giving us a short, "I'm not going to talk about that" when asked for comment about the county supposedly putting off work on the garage.     It was an uncomfortable, but we had to ask.

      The contrast couldn't have been more dramatic Thursday afternoon--music from the stages at Summerfest could no doubt be heard by those near the blue tarp that shielded the aftermath of the concrete collapse from those heading to Maier Park, as well as from the cameras of the TV choppers whirring overhead.

       Why did the slab fall?    No one knows yet.    And, why did it come down when it did?    Was it the result of age, a lack of maintenance, or even this week's earthquake?    Again, there are no answers for now.

       The incident is a reminder that life is random, and that unspeakable tragedy often comes without a heads-up.    It claims the lives of innocents.    It changes the lives of those who were there, who were part of the rescue effort.     And, how about those who were just seconds away from the scene--either coming or going?     How does one wrap a head around being so close to having been a victim?

       Thousands of us have used O'Donnell Park on our way to the lakefront, the Children/'s Museum, Discovery World or the Calatrava.     Maybe you, like my wife and I, parked there last weekend for the Festival of Arts.    Perhaps you drove or walked under the very same entry where the facade gave way and a young life came to an unspeakable end.

       Blame and speculation are for another day.   Right now, thoughts should be with the family, the friends and others who are directly tied to Thursday's tragedy.    And, we should also remember that life is random--that good things, as well as bad, can happen for no reason and without warning.

       Live accordingly.

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