We’ve heard it a thousand times before. We communicate it to our loved ones. And we hope it sticks in their head anytime they’re out walking on the streets.
Look both ways.
This week a tragic accident in the Howard Plaza parking lot in Lindenwood offered a clear example of the consequences of not looking both ways. On Monday afternoon, Sandy Rosenthal, 75, was struck by a truck travelling in the wrong direction. She had no reason to think anyone would be coming along a path clearly marked wrong way.
She left her Howard Beach residence with her husband to go grocery shopping.
Afterwards, he headed to the car; she followed not long after.
But she never made it.
Instead she wound up in an ambulance being rushed to the Traumatic Brain Injury unit at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Rosenthal remained unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit where reportedly both of her arms were broken and she had sustained a cranial injury that caused a brain bleed. Miraculously, by Wednesday, the hospital reported that her condition had been upgraded to stable.
Mere minutes after the accident, social media hawkers began their usual barrage of comments. Inaccurate speculation flooded local sites. And another tragedy was compounded by false suppositions.
The woman was dead, the driver was drunk, the parking lot is dangerous. Fortunately, none were true.
We have repeatedly cautioned readers to take these postings with a few hundred grains of salt. But it seems that humans are predisposed to making the unfettered leap to the dark side, before ascertaining all the facts.
But let’s suppose for one second that we were a member of Sandy Rosenthal’s family, or friends, who hadn’t yet spoken to someone who actually knew the truth. For that moment they suffered the unspeakable loss of a loved one in a tragic accident.
Or what about someone who knew the young man who was behind the wheel—perhaps his parent, a sibling or a girlfriend. They were gripped with overwhelming panic and anxiety.
And how about one of the owners or the management team at Howard Plaza Shopping Center, assigned blame for something they took every conceivable measure to prevent.
Perhaps we should all look toward expanding the traditional inferences of looking both ways — when we cross into the dangerous path of vehicles, and when we cross the harmful lines of disseminating false information.
We hope Sandy Rosenthal continues on the path to a full recovery.
We hope the young man who was driving realizes the error of his ways and in the days ahead can come to terms with what he did in a moment of recklessness that cost both he and the Rosenthal family such pain.
And we hope that when you step off a curb you take a moment to turn your head in every direction to ensure your safety. And that when you step out onto the highway of information, you resist the temptations of dangerous and harmful speculation.
Just look both ways.
The victim, her family, the driver and his family, all of whose lives will be inexorably marked by a few minutes in a neighborhood strip mall. The saddest part of all is that it could easily have been prevented.