A waterfall is simply a river pouring over a cliff and smashing onto the rocks below. The awesome spectacle blinds mere humans to the reality that a waterfall can kill with the efficiency of a white shark and the caprice of a lightning strike.

Picture of a waterfall for story on waterfall risks

I’m not writing this only because of today’s headlines about three people swept over a waterfall yesterday. I’m also writing because of the guy who fell to his death at Stone Mountain State Park over Fourth of July weekend.

My heart goes out to the survivors of these poor folks, because as if the tragedy of their deaths is not bad enough, there is the unmistakable fact that all of them were 100 percent preventable. It’s not like they were hit by rogue waves or swept away by sudden tsunamis.

All they had to do was read the warning signs and enjoy the splendor from afar, like everybody else who soaked up the view and survived.

Normally I’d say that the grief of mourning friends and family requires decorum, decency, understanding — and no finger-pointing — from everybody else.

But dammit I’m just sick of this. The waste.

Nothing in nature is worth getting killed over. When you see a waterfall, you should think grizzly bear. Amazing to gaze upon from a healthy remove, but perfectly willing to take your last breath without batting and eyelash.

Waterfalls don’t care about your hopes, your kids, your wife. They simply do what they do and take everything — and everybody — right over the edge with them.

If these were your loved ones, please accept my apologies and condolences. I know the pain you’re going through, and the anger and everything else. It’s unbearable.

All I can say is I hope that writing this helps prevent similar tragedies down the road.