Distracted Man Walked Off Cliff in California

Sunset over Los Angeles; taken by author, Deborah-Diane
Laguna Woods, California
December 27, 2015 11:31pm CST
On Christmas Day, a man was walking along a cliff overlooking the ocean near San Diego, stepped off the edge, and died. He was looking at an electronic device that he was holding in his hand. Witnesses are not sure whether he was looking at a camera or a cell phone, and the item has not been found yet. Three people risked their own lives in order to try to rescue him, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at the scene. One of the lifeguards stated that it is not OK to drive while distracted and it is not OK to walk while distracted. The man's name was Joshua Burwell of Sheridan, Indiana. It was a terrible tragedy and a good reminder that we all need to watch what we are doing, no matter what is happening on our cell phone screens.
31 people like this
26 responses
@hereandthere (32790)
• Philippines
28 Dec 15
when i read about people falling over, i have always wondered why there are no rails or fences to stop them or slow them down. is it because they'd ruin the view?
7 people like this
• United States
28 Dec 15
You cannot put rails around everything. People just need to use their common sense. If they don't, they fall off of cliffs or walk into poles.
3 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
29 Dec 15
Consider it cleaning the gene pool, if you like, @hereandthere . Our species has more than enough less than intelligent people in it. If a few decide to eliminate themselves, so be it. Yes, I know I sound very callus here, and I am being slightly rude, but not meaning it at you. I think people need to use the common sense they were born with, instead of everyone feeling that the safety of all humans rests on more fences, railings or guards!
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
I agree with @ElizabethWallace that you cannot put rails around everything!
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (176861)
• Switzerland
28 Dec 15
We had two similar tragedies, one in Italy, another in Switzerland. Here a girl fell from the outside walls of a castle while taking a selfie.
6 people like this
@Marcyaz (35606)
• United States
29 Dec 15
People taking selfies I can not understand why they have to do that. What did it get her, nothing. @LadyDuck
4 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
29 Dec 15
@Marcyaz @LadyDuck I have never understood that fascination, either! I prefer not to have my picture taken, and don't take it myself, either!
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
These events are so horrible! People need to be much more careful, no matter how interesting their phones are.
1 person likes this
@Elizaby (3986)
• Pensacola, Florida
28 Dec 15
Very true. If you are walking, driving, biking on anything else that needs your attention then keep your eye on the enviroment around you and not on some device in front of you.
5 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
Absolutely! Many people not only endanger themselves, but also other people!
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
28 Dec 15
Hmmm... a very sobering reminder, at that! I walk and text all the time, only paying enough attention that I don't walk into anything/anyone. I might need to quit doing that... I'd feel rather silly if I met my fate because a bus ran me down while I was texting, DD! Interesting post!
4 people like this
@jaboUK (55052)
• United Kingdom
28 Dec 15
@DaddyEvil Yes - you quit that!
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
29 Dec 15
@jaboUK Yes, ma'am!
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
Actually, @DaddyEvil - you wouldn't feel silly at all. You wouldn't feel anything at all if you met your end that way!
2 people like this
• United States
28 Dec 15
It is certainly tragic, but a reminder that Darwin was right. It used to be wildlife that put humans at risk, now it is their electronics. People should think, if they want to survive.
4 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@ElizabethWallace - You are absolutely right that people need to think if they want to survive!
2 people like this
• United States
29 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane So much of what is pushed by the media and electronic companies is mind-numbing. We need some sort of push in society to reclaim the habit of using our brains. If using our minds staves off Alzheimer's, then the younger generation is in trouble.
1 person likes this
• Laguna Woods, California
1 Jan 16
@ElizabethWallace - I think you are making a good point that the younger generation is headed towards Alzheimer's. Many of them cannot even multiply, because they grew up using calculators, starting in about 5th grade. I think it is criminal!
1 person likes this
@ridingbet (59601)
• Philippines
28 Dec 15
I read some items on Face Book about the road accidents brought about by people who are so engrossed with their mobile phones while crossing the busy streets. the scenes are so morbid, because blood is spread all over the pavement. maybe Mr. Burwell was busy with his phone?
4 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
Yes, witnesses say that Mr. Burwell was busy either with a phone or camera and did not watch where he was walking.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
1 Jan 16
@ridingbet - That is horrible, and so sad! People are just not present in their own lives!
@kevin1877uk (36989)
29 Dec 15
Thats is sad news
4 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@kevin1877uk - Yes, it is very sad news. I was horrified when I heard about it.
2 people like this
@kevin1877uk (36989)
29 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane Sorry for his family, sad news.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (55052)
• United Kingdom
28 Dec 15
What a senseless waste of life.
4 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@jaboUK - I agree that it was a senseless and tragic waste of a life.
2 people like this
• Greece
28 Dec 15
People driving while using a cell phone is such a common sight here that I doubt if it is illegal. A car is a lethal weapon in the hands of distracted drivers.
4 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@41CombedaleRoad - You are so right that a car is a lethal weapon in the hands of distracted drivers. That is so irresponsible.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Dec 15
This hits close to home (as I live in Southern California). It is very sad that we rely on our electronics a little too much that sometimes we don't watch where we are going. My prayers go out to his family/friends.
4 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@infatuatedbby - Yes, I am sure his family is very distressed. His mother apparently posted on Facebook about what happened to her son. I am sure she was in shock.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72460)
• Walnut Creek, California
28 Dec 15
I heard about this one on the news. Another reason I rarely carry my cell phone.
3 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
29 Dec 15
@TheHorse Pony? Carrying a cell phone didn't cause that person to walk off the cliff. Not exercising common sense caused the person to walk off the cliff... You can't equate the two because there is no common denominator except the person.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72460)
• Walnut Creek, California
29 Dec 15
@DaddyEvil So the person who ran a red light and almost killed me because she was texting would have run that red light even had cell phones not existed? I will re-think.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
If you don't carry a cell phone, you are unlikely to meet your fate this way!
2 people like this
@fishtiger58 (30319)
• Momence, Illinois
28 Dec 15
How horrible. Those cell phones are the cause of many deaths, it's just crazy.
3 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@fishtiger58 - You are so right. Cell phones have caused many deaths! It is so sad!!
2 people like this
@fishtiger58 (30319)
• Momence, Illinois
29 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane I once watched a teenage girl with her face in her phone walk right in front of a moving car. If she had been hit it would have been the drivers fault which I find wrong.
3 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
1 Jan 16
@fishtiger58 - You make a good point. People should be responsible for putting themselves in danger.
1 person likes this
@simone10 (21647)
• Louisville, Kentucky
28 Dec 15
It really is a sad thing to happen. I can't help but think that if only he had been more careful and not distracted, he would be alive today. This could have been avoided.
3 people like this
@Marcyaz (35606)
• United States
29 Dec 15
It sure could have been prevented if he had been careful. @simone10
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@simone10 and @Marcyaz - You are so right that this could have been prevented. It is such a shame.
2 people like this
@Marcyaz (35606)
• United States
29 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane You would think a person would be more careful and stop to do what they want instead of walking off a cliff.
1 person likes this
@TRBRocks420 (82802)
• Banks, Oregon
28 Dec 15
That is sad, prayers going out to his family.
3 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@TRBRocks420 - I agree. We should send prayers out to his family.
2 people like this
@vandana7 (67684)
• India
28 Dec 15
They ban cameras inside temples, then they should ban such things in dangerous places.
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
29 Dec 15
And again, you are saying all humans are stupid enough to need someone else to take their hand and guide them through life. If we quit doing that, soon enough the gene pool would be free of the stupidity gene, now wouldn't it?! @vandana7
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@vandana7 - I can understand why they ban cameras inside temples, because they could be disrespectful. I agree with @DaddyEvil that they cannot be banned from every single place that might be dangerous. We would have to have people standing on every cliff, ledge, and street corner to enforce it.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (67684)
• India
1 Jan 16
@DaddyEvil ..I would not use that word...but is there a milder word meaning somewhat the same thing but something that "humans" would not feel hurt about.
2 people like this
@nanette64 (17971)
• Fairfield, Texas
28 Dec 15
Oh good grief!!! Have people lost their minds @DeborahDiane ? You can bet your sweet bippy that I wouldn't have even been close to the edge of a cliff, let alone not paying attention.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@nanette64 - Good Grief is an excellent comment about this. I agree that I would not have been close to the edge of a cliff, either!
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
29 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane No, I can truthfully say any time I am close to the edge of a cliff, I watched my footing and still remained at least four feet back from the edge. I am willing to take pictures, but I will not go any closer to the edge than that! We went to the Grand Canyon when Pretty was seven years old. Idiots were standing on the lip of the cliff taking pictures straight down! Neither Pretty nor myself moved any closer than need be to take some spectacular shots straight out and later after the idiots left, I took shots that angled downward from my prone position still two feet back from the edge.
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
29 Dec 15
@nanette64 I am going to send you a link via pm, if you have no objection? I can't remember what post I was on when I started to give it to you, but Alex said I could not post it on the open forum. I am positive you will find some way to make use of it, as it will benefit shelters and the animals in the shelters. Thank you.
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35606)
• United States
29 Dec 15
I don't walk and talk on my cell and I don't drive and text or talk as that will sure cause an accident. So sorry to hear about this accident. RIP
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@Marcyaz - I'm glad you don't drive and text or talk when you are walking or driving. You are much wiser than a lot of people.
2 people like this
@vandana7 (67684)
• India
29 Dec 15
Sometimes I feel blessed I am not very familiar with my cell phone. lol
2 people like this
@Marcyaz (35606)
• United States
29 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane I learned because I have been a passenger in a car while the person driving is texting or talking on their cell and it is very nerve wracking when they seem to not be paying attention and almost going off the roadway.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (134905)
• Bunbury, Australia
28 Dec 15
Wherever you go nowadays, it seems 80% of people are busy with their phones. It used to drive me crazy but I've become inured to it all.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
@JudyEv - I agree that it seems that 80% of people are busy with their phones all the time. It still drives me a little crazy but, like you, I have become used to it.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (134905)
• Bunbury, Australia
29 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane I am a bit stuck as, much as I dislike them, mobile phones have saved our bacon a few times
1 person likes this
• Laguna Woods, California
1 Jan 16
@JudyEv - Like you, I am grateful to have a cell phone. It has saved our bacon a few times, too. I'm glad we have cell phones, but we all need to learn to use them, not be addicted to them.
1 person likes this
@just4him (127251)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
29 Dec 15
That is terrible. His family must be devastated.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
31 Dec 15
I agree that it is terrible and I am sure that his family is devastated. The only person they mentioned was his mother, but I am sure she is very sad that this happened.
1 person likes this
@just4him (127251)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
31 Dec 15
@DeborahDiane I'm sure she is.
1 person likes this
@Platespinner (17062)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
28 Dec 15
A distant cousin of mine stepped backward off of a cliff many years ago while taking a photo--needless to say my mother was ALWAYS cautioning us to watch what we were doing!
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
29 Dec 15
How horrible that something similar happened to a cousin of yours. How scary and sad.
1 person likes this