From Scraps to a Windmill: The Story of William Kamkwamba

I just absolutely had to dedicate an entire post to this inspiring young man, who managed to build a windmill in Malaui, Africa at the age of 14. I wish that I had an ounce of his tenacity and motivation. Anyway, enough chatter–you can watch his interview with Jon Stewart here for more info.

Ponderances on UCLA Stabbing Incident

UCLA Woman Stabbed. UCLA Stabbing at Young Hall.

I’m sure most of us at UCLA have heard about the the stabbing of a fourth year undergrad in the Young Hall chemistry lab today at 12:21 pm. It’s headline news, apparently. On Twitter. On Facebook statuses. It’s amazing how fast news travels these days. In fact, one of my friends in New York heard about the news half an hour after the incident happened. I got eight voicemails within the next four hours after the event happened from friends and family, asking of my well-being. Anyway, the details of the event can be found in almost all major news sources (i.e. LA Times, Daily Bruin, NY Times), so I’m not going to squander more space to write about it here. Rather, I’ll disclose some thoughts I had about today’s event.

Today started out like any other day. I attended lectures, meetings, and lab with my friends and classmates. I was going about my own business in the materials chemistry  lab on the first floor of Young Hall until suddenly one of my lab partners reported that someone had been stabbed a few floors above us.

Stabbing? Again?!!? I immediately thought to myself.

There was a stabbing around the fraternity houses just last month. To have a violent incident happen within such a short span of time completely shocked me. Being the curious beings we are, my lab partners and I immediately searched through the Internet for recent updates. Daily Bruin’s Twitter reported that everyone should avoid Young Hall, though the suspect (also a fourth year undergrad) had been taken into custody.

Great. I thought to myself. We’re still here….but at least we’re safe for now.

I couldn’t help but start ruminating about the implications of this incident. For one, I realized how one incident committed at UCLA could have such dramatic impacts. Let’s say that this stabbing occurred at a small liberal arts college out in the Mid-West–would the media have overhyped it in this case? Probably not. I think the fact that the crime happened here at UCLA made the difference between headline news and some obscure report. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that liberal arts colleges are not important. In fact, I respect them very much so, but for this to happen at a top university in the country most likely caused the media frenzy. I couldn’t believe that the LA Times and NY Times had already reported on this so soon.

Secondly, this incident reminded me of the value of life and friendships. In college, it’s very easy to become immersed in schoolwork and stress about academics and work, but these unfortunate events pull me back to the basics. Most of us watch crime scene investigations on TV, but for the sixth floor of my beloved Young Hall to become one was just incredible to me at first. It really put things into perspective. I mean, one of my friends and/or roommates could have well been taking Chem 30CL this quarter and had been the victim. In fact, anyone of us on campus could have been severely injured and jeopardized. Really. I know I’m making way too many assumptions here, but this event made me reflect on this a tadbit more.

Thirdly, I couldn’t help but think about the morbid series of events that have occurred in this small section of UCLA’s South Campus, namely Molecular Sciences, Young Hall, and Boyer Hall. Within the last two years, two people have passed away, albeit due to different reasons, and now…this happens too. May there is bad karma in this part of UCLA. It might well just be coincidence. Despite all this, UCLA is still a rather safe campus. and does its part in enforcing security measures. I’m most likely overthinking and making overgeneralizations, but it was interesting to see that these events happened around the same places of campus. I hope it’s not cursed. I really don’t.

But what I do really hope and pray for is for the girl to pull through this; though her identity has not been released, there is a high probability that I or anyone of my friends in the Chem/Biochem department know of her or the suspect. I pray for her speedy recovery and hope nothing like this happens again in the near future.