Paul Walker is being talked about more than ever since his untimely death Sat. Nov 30th. Of course when a celebrity dies there’s many people acting like a member of the family is gone, but then there’s the other side, the side where people are angry that a celebrities fans care so much.
There’s so little attention given to men and women of the armed forces who parish in battle and as a retired Marine that bothers me. However, I mourn Paul Walker’s death even though I am frustrated by the media’s lack of concern for “regular people”. Why do I care? Why should anyone care?
People should care when life is lost. It’s just that simple. Life is precious and unique. I think it’s very important to memorialize our fallen service members. If even 1/4 of the attention given to Whitney Houston’s death were given to a veteran it would be an amazing testament to our military.
I didn’t know Paul Walker in the typical sense, and that’s why so many are frustrated, but they fail to acknowledge that we don’t know almost any of the service members who die in war or veterans that die who have served years before even though I’m a 20 year veteran of the Marine Corps. Like me, many of our service members are just serving. We’re not in the public eye and don’t want to be. I have a connection with other veterans, and especially with other Marines, but overall, we don’t know each other.
I don’t know Paul Walker but I’ve been affected by him in a clear way. Fast & Furious came out in 2001. I took my 10 year old son to his first “grown up” movie. I’m a movie fanatic and have been my whole life. This movie was going to have all the things I love about movies; fast cars, action, beautiful woman, muscular guys and a plot involving friendship and responsibility. The actors in that movie helped me create a marking point in my life. I will always remember taking my 10 year old son to that movie. 10 years later I took my 20 year old son to Fast Five. It was great and cheesy and another marking point. My son was an adult, a movie fan and a filmmaker himself. We had so much to talk about with that movie and one of the things we discussed was Paul Walker, he had those movie star looks and was a good actor but in interviews he seemed like just a regular, decent guy, which being a Hollywood actor is unusual.
Two years later,(this past summer) I took my 13 year old daughter to the latest Fast & Furious movie. My son had matured past liking over the top action flicks. My daughter commented on Paul Walker’s piercing blue eyes and thus created another marking point in my life. My daughter was noticing guys whether I liked it or not. Movies are one of the few communal experiences shared in most of American society. No matter what are differences outside the theater, most of us are the same sitting in a movie theater. We’re all looking up, quiet (for the most part) enthralled by the story playing out before us. Then we all have commentary on what worked and what didn’t and most of us have thoughts on actors and their characters.
Stardom means so little to seemingly so many. Reality TV has shown us so much how few care beyond their own little world’s about what’s going on. But then there are a few people that use their fame to draw attention to the needs of humanity. Some appear for a few seconds asking us to “help” victims of disaster yet some participate in doing everything their celebrity status affords them to do something good. George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Angelina Jolie and yes, Paul Walker.
Different people have different marking points in their lives. Births, deaths, moving, drama, joy, and so much more. It’s hard to deny though, these days entertainment has a tremendous impact on our lives. Paul Walker wasn’t a prima donna. He wasn’t known for drinking, drugs, or abusive relationships. He was known as a talented man in a crazy business that was grounded and he loved what he was doing and used his success to benefit others.
That’s my Paul Walker story. He’s created another marking point in my life and I’m going to miss him.
LightBox spoke with Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki, who photographed the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Tlumacki, who has photographed more than 20 marathons in his 30 years at the Globe, describes the sheer chaos of the scene.