Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/18/2005: "Sad"


The Hangar on the Warf is pretty much the only place friends and I go for dinner and drinks and yesterday I read that one of their workers, a local photographer with a beautiful smile (that I had a little crush on) drowned in a kayaking accident just off Douglas Island. Even though I didn't know him by name, the news has really shaken me.

There was another article yesterday of a man and his son (who were family to a friend of mine out at the university) who drowned in a separate incident. It seems everyday there is a new story, a couple days ago there was a scout master who got killed when a tree fell on his tent! There are so many drownings, and small plane crashes, avalanches, etc. Alaska has the highest accidental death rate in the US and unintentional injury was the leading cause of death in Alaska for ages 5-44 in 2000 (According the Alaska Progress Report.) I guess I don't think about it most of the time but living here isn't like living in the lower 48. We have a great way of life but it comes at a huge cost.


Replies: 4 Comments

on Friday, March 18th, Markus Barca said

Sorry to hear about the loss of life, Elise. A death in such a small community like Juneau can have a profound affect upon the population because the degree of separation between individuals is so small. Someone had to know the deceased, even if indirectly, like you and the photographer mentioned in your post.

Youíre right about Alaska being a dangerous place to live. There arenít many places in the United States where one can be eaten by a bear or trampled by a moose. But life is, after all, about trade-offs. What are we willing to accept and give up in exchange for something else?

on Friday, March 18th, Elise said

I agree Markus, but I guess I'd rather have a short life doing what I love, than a long one with fewer risks.

on Friday, March 18th, holly said

That *is* really sad. I am surprised to hear there is such a high death rate- I suppose it doesn't really matter if the statistics come about from street violence or kayaking: it doesn't make it any easier to accept either way.

on Friday, March 18th, Elise said

You're right Holly.