The Storm Of The Century Of The Week And Other Things I Just Don’t Understand

I live in the south. The southern United States. Georgia, to be exact.

I grew up in the north. North midwest. That would be in Michigan.

I grew up with snow. We put on snow tires every year. My parents taught me how to drive in icy and snowy conditions. I was used to it.

Back then.

Way back then.

We people of the south are not used to driving in ice and snow. When I first moved here 26 years ago the entire state had only 3 snow removal trucks. We (and I mean we in every sense of the word) aren’t comfortable driving in ice and snow. So, when we hear of The-Storm-of-the-Century-of-the-Week we hunker down. Stay in. But not without first running to the grocery store.

Honest. This is a photo (which explains the quality) I took with my cell phone. (But luddite that I am, my daughter had to help me get it from my phone to you all.) You’d think the meteorologists were predicting the apocalypse and not an ice/snow storm.

Another thing I don’t get?

Crazies. In Arizona. Shooting government officials because their words don’t make sense. Some nut (who doesn’t deserve the notoriety so I’m not mentioning his name) asked Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, “What is government if words have no meaning?” She had no response.

So, he shot her.

And 20 other people.

Now six people are dead and 14 are wounded.

Even more than that, I don’t understand the parents of the 9-year-old who was killed. (This is about to get judgemental, so I’m apologizing in advance) 

I’m going to chalk up their decision to speak with a reporter from Dateline, less than 48 hours from when their child died, as a poor lapse of judgement due to shock. They were speaking so calmly, so candidly, I thought they were speaking of an event that happened a year ago. But then Brian Williams kept saying “The events from yesterday” or “Yesterday’s shooting” and I was confused.

I admit, I was only watching because I was following the school closings ticker at the bottom of the screen. I hadn’t seen the news because I didn’t sign on to the computer or turn on the television once this whole weekend. (Did I mention I’m a bit of a luddite?) I couldn’t believe the parents of the murdered child were on television instead of grieving or comforting their son or (horror of all horrors for any parent) planning a funeral for their child. I just got the icky feeling (from the mom, anyway) that this was a bit of  “15 minutes of fame” and it creeped me out. In a big way.

Some days, human nature has me stymied.

And this is one of those days.


Filed under Observations

32 responses to “The Storm Of The Century Of The Week And Other Things I Just Don’t Understand

  1. When I saw the parents on TV last night I thought “for sure it was the Dad who was with her at the end, because he seems emotional…and the mom doesn’t.” And I too wondered why they were on TV, expected to hear a family friend read a statement at most.

  2. My son had a terrible car crash back in October that unbelievably he walked away from. I still can’t talk about it without getting teary and I was unable to speak the weekend that it happened. But perhaps things hit people in different ways who knows.

  3. I watched Dateline too and kept saying the same thing to Matt—“How are they on here???” I am hoping it was just shock. But I know for a fact that I couldn’t give an interview about my dead child less than 24 hours later not in complete hysterics.

  4. Ewww…Dateline? Really? Weirdos.

    It’s 5 degrees here with 5 inches of snow on the ground…I’m pretty sure your state would think it was Armageddon.

  5. Maybe they were sedated? Definitely creepy.

  6. As for the “run” on the grocery store, just chuckling. And I’ll say no more. As for the mother speaking to the media, I was dumbstruck and also horrified by the event itself. Perhaps this is part of how the family deals with it. It wouldn’t be my way; it certainly shows how extreme the differences are in the way people process things.

  7. we moved to north carolina to avoid these ‘wintry mix’ situations. somehow, we still end up shoveling snow.

  8. I have to take up for the parents in this situation. I think that everyone deals with tragedy differently, and we can’t know what made them agree to the interview. Perhaps they thought that they would be pressured to give an interview eventually and wanted to get it over with. Perhaps (since their daughter was born on 9/11 and had been a part of a documentary on that topic) they are more comfortable with the media than most and weren’t put off by the idea. Perhaps the reality of the situation hasn’t hit them yet and they’re in that place where their lives feel like a movie of someone else.

    For those who have said, “How could they?” all you know is that the interview decision wouldn’t have been right for you. We don’t know what is right for them. I really believe that at this point incredible compassion is the only thing that should be directed toward this family. If, in six months, they’re starring in a reality show called “Our Fallen Daughter” or something I might change my tune. But for the moment I think they deserve a grace period from the judgment of others.

    (Sorry to be a wet blanket…)

    • Wet blankets are embraced here. I love differing opinions. Thanks for yours!

      • And I agree…after I commented I saw the Dad on Today or one of the morning shows. And he was a mess. Then I started thinking about how I was when my Dad was killed. And how talking about it to anyone that would listen helped. Really helped. So I’d changed my mind. Whatever works for these poor people is what they need to do, even if it creeps the rest of us out.

    • I have to agree with Gale. Shock is a funny thing…it can cause you to act in ways that might be interpreted by others as “uncaring” or cause them to wonder, “what were they thinking.” Nothing feels real in a moment like this and I don’t think we can hold people to our ideal of “rational.”
      When Joe died, I walked out of the hospital and went home. When I was able to look back and replay the events–I was horrified that I had acted in such an uncaring manner-at the time all I knew is I wanted to be home. I had to forgive myself for leaving the hospital…for leaving Joe and his family as they arrived. They did not judge me–and for that I was grateful.
      These parents lost a child, in a way none of can make sense of yet…no judgement only empathy…and then more empathy and then more empathy.

      What is it with the South and milk? Why milk?

  9. I have observed the rule in my blogging comment MO: If I disagree with the POV of the blogger, I simply walk away. I am pretty sure that’s what most people do, and therefore blogging has become sort of self-reinforcing comfort for most of us: we only see feedbacks that agree with us, unless of course if we are one of those big bloggers. When I saw this post in my inbox and the AZ shooting was mentioned, I thought for sure you were writing about how you couldn’t understand the quick movement by some “side” (which includes Sarah Palin and the Tea Party) to point fingers at the other “side”. And as crazy liberal as I am, I would have agreed with you. Therefore I was surprised that you were actually talking about the Greens and their reaction. Nobody knows how it feels when you have actually lost a child. And even at that, everybody deals with tragedy and loss differently. As hard as it is for me to imagine what it would be like, I am guessing that my response would be to shut down and not cry. Because if I start crying, I would not be able to stop. And I would lose myself. It would probably feel unreal to me and yes as Gale suggested, it would probably feel to me more like I am talking about someone else as a coping mechanism.

    They have lost a child. I feel, at the risk of offending you and the others here whom I do love and respect, it seems a bit unkind to be criticizing the parents and accusing them of seeking fame exactly so soon after the child’s death.

    • I certainly did not mean to be unkind. And I tempered my reaction with giving the parents an out – “I’m going to chalk up their decision to speak with a reporter from Dateline, less than 48 hours from when their child died, as a poor lapse of judgement due to shock.”

      As critical as my reaction appeared to be, it was still – MY initial reaction. I agree that everyone deals with grief differently. But to honor your family, your daughter – taking care of your own grief and that of your immediate family (they have a son, as well) – should be first and foremost in your mind. Not pandering to the general public. There’s plenty of time for that later. I’ve tried to see it from other angles – and I truly appreciate your efforts and that of Gale’s. But no matter how you slice it – it still feels a bit creepy to me. To me. Obviously, not to everyone.

      • I often find it funny how different we are: you are quiet (I assume!) yet strong, whereas I am loud/obnoxious yet can be easily swayed/changed in direction (very similar to Angry Birds…)

    • Kathy

      Some parents knows what it is like. You said no one knows what it is like to lose a child. Unfortunately, it happens more than it should. People do deal with tragedy and lose in different ways. Sometimes instead of getting some faint piece of relief from family and friends, you can get more help from strangers. Might be because family and friends have their own pain and it adds to much to your grief for their sufferings also. And I live in Alabama. Even though you have not lived here all your life you know us really well. We are wimps when it comes to the weather. God bless that childs family and friends. You dont know why MILK? Seen the commercial Got Milk? Try to eat your cereal with out it.

  10. Ooops. Sorry. I meant the side that does not include Sarah Palin and the Tea Party to so quickly point their collective finger at the side that includes Sarah Palin.

  11. Carol

    I don’t agree with those parents, but as stated earlier by others, I am not in their shoes. What I find most frightening is that going to the grocery store, politicians trying to speak with their constituents, having opinions – any or all can result in death. Do we need to start wearing sheets of armor?

  12. I read this post earlier but didn’t comment. I almost always agree with your point of view, and I think I saw a different interview than the one you saw. But what I saw was a grieving father trying to explain the joy his little girl had given him in her nine short years. I felt he was making his statement as a tribute to her, to allow us to see what a vibrant, wonderful person she had been and how much potential she had for the future.

    In most cases, I turn off the television when grief-stricken parents are interviewed. But I’m glad I watched this one and I would hope I would have had to courage to honor my child in such an articulate manner. I was moved to tears (something that doesn’t often happen) by the father. He made his daughter very real to me in a way that would not have happened otherwise. I will no longer think of her as “the nine-year-old girl who was also shot and killed.” I will remember her as Christina Taylor Green, a kind and vibrant little girl who will remind me forever of the senseless violence that can cut short the life of any of us at any time.

  13. I didn’t watch and since it took me over a year to talk about it when my dog died, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be on Dateline if I lost a member of my family. Trying to put myself in their heads, however, perhaps they felt like that if they didn’t, the world would never know anything about this special child they have lost. The mother is a journalist. . . maybe she felt more comfortable talking than we would.

    Tonight on the news they mentioned how many snow trucks Atlanta has and I was amazed at the small number. (If I didn’t have CRS, I’d tell you the number.)

  14. Is it crazy that I didn’t know about any of this??!! I am off to do some research.

  15. charmstep

    I moved to Atlanta 25 years ago (Iowa>Missouri>Georgia). I thought it was hilarious that the TV weather forecasters advised people to stay at home, and there was a very light snowfall that day. Considering the number of accidents people have, I guess I can understand their caution. The next day, the people who showed up for work were me and my co-workers who had moved here from St. Louis. So I learned quickly that if *any* snow fell, I was staying at home.

    I moved here because it’s not supposed to snow this far south. The only place I want to see snow is on the Weather Channel, and not even then.

  16. I live in AZ and everyone is trying to process what happened here. I’ve learned that everyone handles grief very differently. When my father passed, some of my family and friends didn’t offer any condolences. I thought, how could they say nothing? After processing this since his death, I’ve realized that there are no guidelines on how people deal with grief.

  17. I’ve avoided reading about the little girl and watching any coverage/interviews because I can’t stop my mind from going there, from imagining it was my child. I can’t fathom what they’re going through. It’s sad that they’re having to grieve so publicly; it’s sad that the media is eating it up, as the media is prone to do; it’s sad that right-wing political rhetoric was probably a catalyst for the shootings; and most of all, it’s sad that that little girl (and five others) are no longer with us. So terribly sad.

  18. Even in Canada, where snow is a way of life, the shelves can look like what you’ve shown above. I think people sometimes get-off on the thought of drama.

    I do not mean that a judgment of those parents. Where that is concerned I am a bit speechless and confused.

  19. We were supposed to have “the storm of the century” right before Thanksgiving break and the grocery stores were packed! Instead we got like one inch of snow and a good laugh (considering we are used to a foot of snow at a time).

    As for those parents, I’m going to side with Gale and Lyn on this–I just can’t say what was right or wrong with their decision to have a news conference. Grief is complex; people need time to work out their emotions and sometimes it is just nice to talk about your loved one with someone–anyone–because it hurts so bad.

    P.S. If you are a lubbite, what would I be? We don’t have cable and I only turn the TV on once a month. Or something like that.

  20. I can sum up all I’ve learned from parenting to deal with this: We are all trying to do our best with what we got.
    Except for the crazy moron with the gun. He needed to do better.
    So how is the storm of the centry? And how do you get photos from your phone to your blog?

  21. I pray for the storm of the century here, but have yet to see it. We did have 17 inches of snow a number of years ago, but that doesn’t count anymore. What I don’t get is why people run to the store for toilet paper. Come on…how much paper do you really need…even if you’re holed up for 3-4 days? As for the moron shooter, I’m just glad there were people in the crowd with the guts to stop him before he did more damage. But my heart sank with the report of the little girl.

  22. unabridgedgirl

    I rarely listen to the news anymore. It depresses me too much. This whole business with the Arizona shooting is horrible and tragic.

  23. secretlifeofjane

    The run to the grocery doesn’t just happen in the south- here in the north, where we get snow ALL of the time, people still freak out… that picture you posted above, could have been from my grocery story up the street… you know, for that emergency french toast everyone has to whip up- eggs, milk and bread are the first things to go.

    And yeah, I am with you on the dateline thing. I can only surmise that they were in complete shock.

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