December 15, 2009

Lest we remove all doubt…

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbj @ 8:56 pm

Here is what I wish people would think about before the act, speak, or do anything else on the thoughts that cross their minds… “is the potential cost of being wrong greater than the potential cost of keeping you mouth shut (or not taking some other action).”  If so, keep it to yourself, at least until you know what you are talking about.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
- Abraham Lincoln

Yesterday afternoon a person I follow on Twitter (not even someone I exchange ideas with regularly, just someone on my timeline) had a horrific experience.  Specifically, her two year old child fell into their swimming pool and drowned (her tweet said “Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool”).

There was, as should be expected, an outpouring of emotion.  However, there was also a rash of doubt and condemnation.  People (who know absolutely nothing about the circumstances of the drowning) blamed the mother for being inattentive, blamed Twitter and social media for essentially killing babies (the actual quite being “…twitter is evil,distracts from priorities”) and more.

One Twitter personality took things a step further, launching a personal crusade to validate the story.  Questioning, publically if this was a hoax, and stating repeatedly that if it were a real news story there would have been something in the media by now about it.  She called Florida media, she called local Florida police departments, and publically decried the lack of results from her premature stone kicking.

So, when the story did hit the media and was validated… what was the response from our crusader?

“story confirmed (no names mentioned). I have no reason to apologize 4 wanting story verified”

This brings me back to my original thought/question.  In this case, the price of being wrong (essentially calling a grieving mother a liar in public and adding that to everything else she must be going through right now – in case its not obvious), in my mind outweighs (by an order of magnitude, at least) the cost of waiting until the facts present themselves.

If this had been a hoax, there would have been weeks, months – or as long as your sordid imagination wanted – to rail against it.  No lost opportunity cost at all.

By contrast, by speaking up publically, she (and the others who did similar things) has done irreparable damage that can never be undone or taken back.

So much grief and pain, caused by a statement that could have just been kept private.  The price of being Madison Mcgraw being wrong will be felt by Shellie Ross for a very long time (probably forever).  How much would it have hurt Madison to wait a day or two and get the fact straight???

I can’t even imagine the heartache of losing one of my boys, let alone adding to that the other facets of this situation (guilt about being there when the accident happened, receiving this feedback from what you expected to be a support unit).

Personally, I think Madison does have something to apologize for… I’m not sure how much anguish you can add to a person who has lost a two year old child, but whatever it is, her callous and compassionless comments surely must have done just that.

Since she does not feel she has anything to be sorry about, however, I will take the liberty of apologizing for her, and for everyone else who felt the compulsion to ignore any faith in humanity, the potential results of their actions and any sort of due diligence.

I’m sorry, Shellie, mostly for your loss, of course, no one should be ever have to endure their children preceding them in death; but also for the treatment you received while trying to deal with all of this.

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  1. I don’t blame you for being upset! Any of us who’ve had small children know just how quickly they move, and how fast a tragedy can happen. My heart goes out to Shellie and her family, from one mother who has lost a child to another. I’m sure her only motivation was to share the stunning sorrow she felt, and I really hope the haters have learned a valuable lesson.

    And now let’s all hug our kids, if we can, and remember how very precious and fragile life is.

    Comment by mehitabel — December 15, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  2. *sigh*

    Some people …..

    Soren: That Lincoln quote is one of the things I remember about my father – he used to state it often. It is ingrained within me. Not always practiced, as I am only human, but it is there.

    This is a tragedy … for the mother who lost her child in such an untimely fashion to the boneheads who spout off without giving thought their outbursts might have irreparable consequences.

    Prayers have been said to both parties.

    Bestest ……….. Michael

    Comment by Ruprecht — December 15, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

  3. Thank you so much Soren for this wonderful apology. My prayers go out for Madison McGraw too; we live in a cynical, suspicious world filled with scammers and liers. I guess some do not see the support system Twitter can be. It is a SOCIAL network and dear Shellie works online. So it makes sense that she would communicate online.

    Madison herself did not tweet hatred as much as a desire for verification; reasonable. But to criticize this poor mom is a waste of time. She already blames herself although this is not her fault. Look at her timeline, she asked for prayers when her baby boy was still alive. She was tweeting from her iPhone, probably from the hospital. Reaching out to get support, asking only for prayers.

    Folks we need more kindness in the world,and forgiveness. Everything we have seen in this circumstances is only evidence of humanity. Please give Madison the space to find in her heart the freedom that an apology would bring her.

    Comment by Kat Caverly — December 15, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  4. As those who read my blog with any regularity (when I actually post these days… sheesh) know… I rarely comment on my own site. However, Kat makes a very good point, which I failed to illustrate in my post. Madison was not tweeting hatred, just doubt and skepticism. I understand her desire for confirmation, I just think it should have remained her private desire until she got it. :)

    Comment by sbj — December 15, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  5. Wow, very sad indeed. My prayers go out to both parties involved. I agree with you completely, I think the silence should have been held if not for anything else, but respect for the party who lost her 2yr old in such a tragic way.

    Comment by topsurf — December 16, 2009 @ 12:36 am

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