Two students at my University died this week.
The first, George Louissaint, Jr. went missing on the morning of Feb. 12. George’s body was discovered 6 days later, found floating in a pond close to where he disappeared. He was 20.
An. N. Hoang (also known as Andy Hoang among friends) crashed his car into a ditch and hit a concrete wall in St. Petersburg, Florida Saturday evening. Andy wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and his injuries would prove fatal. He was 18.
I wasn’t friends with George or Andy. George and I shared a large lecture course together a few years back. I remember seeing his face but never really engaging in conversation. Andy was a regular at the game room where I currently work. Mostly, our conversations consisted of him asking for gaming equipment and then for his student I.D. back at the end of the day.
The circumstances surrounding both students’ deaths aren’t completely clear at the time of writing.
George had been at a party that would be broken up by police just before his disappearance. His roommate, who had also been at the party said George had seemed sad. George’s girlfriend had asked his sister to check up on him. The same morning, UPD was called about a possible suicidal/missing person and met with George’s roommate who said George “stepped away for a second” and couldn’t be found afterwards.
The contributing factors leading to Andy’s car accident are believed to be excessive speed and impairment according to investigators. As mentioned earlier, Hoang was not wearing a seatbelt.
When I first heard about these two students, I had separate reactions to both stories.
I felt despair about George. I held out hope that he would be found. That he had taken a week to himself, that he had lost his cellphone or even that he got into trouble that maybe someone could get him out of. I was devastated the moment I heard a body had been found Saturday morning. I knew in my head that it was him, but I held out hope until the moment the press conference announcing his death was made.
I didn’t feel remorse for Andy. From the few personal conversations we had and the information I’d overheard, I learned Andy was “experimental”. He often bragged about his various escapades and getting off easy for allegedly causing disruptions. When I found out that he had died, I felt like it might have been karma, that maybe he might have deserved it.
Then I remembered back to Jan. 2, 2013, the night my friend died.
I was playing video games when I started seeing pictures of a horrible car wreck on social media. “What idiot did that?” I recall thinking.
I would find out later that “idiot” was my friend Zach. He would lose his life at 16 as a result of the auto accident.
Zach was genuine, kind and above all else, an incredible friend. He made a mistake, one that cost him his life. He didn’t deserve to die. He brought joy to so many people’s lives, including mine.
When I remembered that horrible night four years ago, I felt like absolute dog shit for ever thinking Andy deserved his fate. I didn’t know Andy personally, but I’m sure he also brought joy to his group of friends and his family. From what I understand, Andy made some stupid choices, but honestly, we all do, Zach did and so have I.
I’ve done things that were foolish, illogical and sometimes dangerous, but I’m still here. Does that make me better than George or Andy or Zach?
Life requires us to learn from hardships and mistakes, especially when we’re young. Unfortunately, we all don’t get to wake up the next day and go back to life as usual.
Rest in Peace
George Louissaint, Jr.
An. N Hoang
Zachary Douglas McCarthy
Despite this website being crafted from a wordpress engine, I try to stray away from blog-like content unless it involves gaming or nerdy topics and even those I try to add journalistic and research elements to. This week was different in the weirdest and worst of ways, so I made an exception by publishing a heavily personal life anecdote on the site. As always, thanks for indulging me in these pieces that diverge from the normal topics I write.