Opinion: Staying grateful and safe


Joyce Ng is a senior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Joyce Ng

The past two weeks have been plagued with unfortunate tragedies around the world, with many innocent lives lost or put in danger suddenly.

Earlier this month, a stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school left at least 22 people injured; a South Korean ferry capsized on April 16, leaving at least 50 dead and 252 missing (at the time of writing); and Karpal Singh, an influential Malaysian opposition political leader, and his assistant were killed in a road accident Thursday.

At the same time, the mystery behind the missing Malaysia Airlines plane remains as its search and rescue operations enter the seventh week.

I’m sure there are many more incidents of death and disaster that occurred recently, which I did not list. These are only the ones I have chosen to pay attention to amidst the flood of news we receive every day. The victims of these tragedies are not only the people who have been physically injured or died — the close family and friends of these people are suffering immensely as well.

I imagine one of the most difficult things to deal with during these tragedies is that they are mostly caused by a person’s (or a few people’s) actions or judgments of error. While no person ever deserves death or injury, these victims did not do anything to be responsible for the loss of their lives. All they did was go about their day as usual with no indication that their lives would end or be in danger later that day.

It is scary to watch these freak accidents happen, especially with the knowledge that they could have happened to anyone, including ourselves.

Being grateful for the life we still have is a common message we receive. It is, however, admittedly difficult to feel grateful for our lives if and when we feel trapped by stress and depression that feel inescapable.

It is easy to take what I have for granted, such as safe travels whenever I am in a moving vehicle, because I’ve been very fortunate all my life and have not had to deal with tragedy yet.

Nonetheless, these recent tragedies are strong reminders that our safety can be taken away from us in a moment of bad decisions and carelessness. It could happen to any of us. Many are mourning for their friends and families this very moment, while the people who are important in my life remain safe.

We need to do what we can to ensure our actions do not put others in danger.

As the majority of us are either college students, faculty or staff, I imagine one of the highest-risk activities that we do frequently is driving. It is important to pay close attention on the road, as a moment of distraction while texting or eating on the road might come at a very high cost — one that is not worth our lives and the lives of others. Stay safe, and be grateful for what we have.