I have been blogging long enough to know to avoid such issues, and I do normally bite my tongue. But this time I’m having trouble. And it’s none of my business. I know this. Yet I can’t stop thinking about it.
Yesterday a blogger (who I had never heard of before) was brought to my attention through a series of ReTweets. It appears her child had a serious medical emergency and was being taken away in an ambulance. Terrible. That goes without saying. But what upset me even more was that there were pictures taken of the child while in the ambulance. They were posted on Twitter while it was happening. (Reality Internet?)
Here’s where I’ll admit to something out loud that I will likely come to regret. This upset me a great deal. I didn’t particularly want to see pictures of her child suffering. I don’t want to see pictures of any child suffering. Ever. The images upset me a great deal. But what upset me more was that I don’t understand, as a mother, how one is capable of doing this while it’s taking place. Naturally, I’m going to try and relate. That’s what I do. I do that with everyone. The soldier who recently murdered 16 people in Afghanistan, 9 of which were children? I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to understand how and why he could do such a thing. (No, I’m not comparing these two people even remotely. I’m merely pointing out that I try and comprehend even the ugliest of actions.)
This is where I keep ending up: if one of my children was suffering, hooked up to wires, unconscious and in an ambulance, I can’t imagine taking pictures of him and posting them on the Internet. I’m not suggesting that in doing so she is a terrible person. I know that people deal with stress differently. It’s that I don’t understand it even a little bit. I keep trying to and I just can’t relate on any level. And I want to so I can stop thinking about it.
I don’t know this person. So I’m trying to figure out what I would do if it had been a very close friend of mine, someone I know extremely well. Would I, assuming everything turns out OK, ask her about it? Would I ask, “How were you able to post that picture online while it was taking place?” Or would I bite my tongue because ultimately it’s none of my business.
One blogger, several years ago, tweeted seconds after finding her 2-year-old drowning in the pool. She asked for prayers. People watched the entire event unfold on Twitter. She faced so much backlash, but even more compassion. People prayed. They came together. Sadly, her toddler didn’t make it, and that fueled even more intense backlash. It was a mess, the whole thing was a terrible mess and at the heart of it all, a child had died.
I’ve read many, many reasons and justifications behind why people do this. Many bloggers, journalists, even psychologists have weighed in, and it always seems to boil down to this: people deal with stress and sorrow differently. Judging how anyone reacts under these circumstances isn’t fair, nor possible.
I so get that. I do. I do. I do. Reading that back. I get it. I saw this firsthand after 9/11. One woman I worked with was in such shock, she paced our office that day asking everyone where she was going to shop since the stores she regularly shopped at were in the World Trade Center. She was hysterical, out of her head. And I totally understood why she’d think that. Humans are complex creatures. It isn’t fair to judge how they deal with stress.
I just can’t stop thinking about it this time.