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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Human Compassion...

Let me start off by saying that today's blog is very deep, and somewhat of a rant.  But I need to get this off my chest.  If you are looking for light hearted funny today,  I am afraid you are not going to get it.  Sorry...  try again tomorrow?!?!

Copied from Wikipedia -
Compassion (from Latin: "co-suffering") is a virtue —one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy (for the suffering of others) are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnectedness and humanism —foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.

I have to tell you the past few days I have really been contemplating humanity.  Contemplating humans has a whole.  I am left wondering where is the decency of human kind, where is our empathy, or sympathy, our kindness, our give a shit?!?!  Where is our compassion as a whole?
On Sunday afternoon Andrew and I were driving back home from Macon, Ga.  We had just left the brigade change of command.  We were both a little sad.  It is the end of an era for us.  Our old commander is leaving, we have a new commander coming in.  We have been moved to a new unit.  We still don't have a job or know where we are going to be living or what we will even be doing at the beginning of next year.
We are talking about all these things as we are driving down the road.  Then all of a sudden the cars up a ways a head of us started hitting their brakes.  About three seconds later, we come up on a very major single car accident that had just happened.
Andrew looked at me and said, "should we stop?"  And I replied, "yeah, I think we should."  So he pulled over on the side of the road. 
There was probably ten to twelve people standing around, most of them on cell phones.  Now, let me explain to you what I saw...  When you are driving down the interstates, you know how there will be a road that will go over the interstate (an overpass is what they are called here).  Well the road that is going over the interstate is like a bridge and here in GA at least these "bridges" are held up by HUGE concrete beams that are in the shape of a "H".  Leading up to these beams, the DOT have placed metal guard rails to keep people from hitting the beams.  These guard rails are kind of shaped triangular...  so if I was drawing this for you looking straight at the beam it would look like this:      with the "H" standing straight up and down... does that makes sense???
(Here is a photo I "borrowed" off the net to kind of give you an example - it isn't the same but it is close and should give you an visual idea of what I am trying to say).
Well there was a car on top of the metal railing nose down towards the ground, the trunk/gas tank was up in the air above my head. The whole front end of the car from the drivers compartment forward (so like the engine and passenger side tire was smooched over to the drivers side of the car where it had hit the beam.  It was like the front passenger side of the car hit the beam and stopped but the rest of the car kept moving to the right.  So lets say if there had been a passenger in the car (thank goodness there wasn't) they would have been looking at the beam right in their face with nothing between them and the beam.  And all that "stuff" that should have been there was pushed by the force that it hit the beam over to in front of the driver side of the car.
So like I said, a really really really bad accident.
I had lingered in the car for a second longer than Andrew, because I had to get my shoes on.  By the time I got over to the accident scene, he had a knife in his hand and was trying to cut parts of the car away.  There was a person in the front seat of the car.  Now all I could see of this person was about four to five inch's of there back that was pushed up against where the driver side door should have been.  There was as I said about 10 to 12 people standing around.  Some on cell phones and some of them just gawking for a lack of a better word.
As I walked up to the car, I asked one of the by standers, is there anyone in the car?  They said yes. I was like are they alive?  And she nodded her head. I just looked at her shocked.  So there is a person in the car, they are alive and NO ONE is doing anything?!?!  REALLY????
I went up to the driver side and saw there was NO WAY we were going to get the person out of this side of the car. It wasn't going to happen.  And at this point I could hear the person inside screaming, "Get me out. Oh God, Get me out".  I ran to the other side of the car, the passenger side door was up in the air ABOVE my head. I tried to open it but it was locked.
At this time a young male said to me, watch out - I am really worried that this car will flip over the way it is perched up on the railing.  So I ran around to the drivers side again.  The person in the car was still yelling get me out and he was trying to get himself out.
As I said there was NO way any of us was going to get this person out of this car.  It was truly going to take the rescue people cutting him out.  So I went up to him and I started talking to him through the mangled glass and metal.  All I could see if him was the top of his left thigh that was sticking out through the front of the car where the engine should be, it was dripping blood really bad from the knee area, and I could see an area of about 6" x 4" of his back that was pushed up against where the door should have been - but if you recall I said the door had been smashed to to about a 4" opening. 
Andrew is still trying to pull glass and pieces of metal from the car.  I didn't realize it then, but found out later his concern was that the car was going to catch on fire.  Where the engine was there was nothing but steaming metal and oil and what have you.  The gas tank is up in the air, which he was thinking all that gas is coming down towards all that hot metal.
I was standing at the drivers side door area (as there wasn't a door there anymore) and I started rubbing the 4 x 6" part of this person's back and I asked him could he feel me touching his back - he said "yes!  Get me out!"  I went on to tell him that we couldn't get him out that we needed help to get him out but that I needed him to stop trying to get out.  That I needed him to calm down and that as long as he could feel my hand on his back he knew he wasn't alone, that we were trying to get him out.
At this time there must have been 20 people standing around.  Andrew is going up to different people and telling them if they have a fire extinguisher in their car to please go get it and get it now.
I am still standing at the car rubbing this person's back and talking to him and EVERYONE else is just standing there...  I start asking the person what was his name - he replied "Alex".  I asked him was there anyone else in the car?  No.  I asked him how old he was, 20.  I asked him where he lived - Atlanta.  I asked him where he was going - back to school.  What school, GA Southern.  I told him I went to GA Southern for a year too.  When he stopped answering me - I said Alex, can you hear me?  Yes - I told him I need you to keep talking to me, I need to know you are still ok.  I know I talk a lot, but I needed him to keep talking to me. That help was on the way.
At this time one of the guys had gotten back on his phone (I found out later Andrew had asked him to call 911 back) and he was telling them that they needed to bring the jaws of life there was no other way to get this guy out - I turned around and pushed him away and said move, move.  Andrew asked what was wrong, and I whispered to him that Alex didn't need to hear that we needed the jaws of life. And Andrew was like oh yeah - and lead the guy away.
I remember looking up at the crowd and someone said you are doing a great job, keep him talking.  So I just kept talking to Alex and rubbing his back.  I found out that he had been home for the weekend, he didn't do anything but hang out. He wanted us to call him mommy.  Her name was "Karen" and he gave me her number from memory.  One of the other girls in the crowd called her for me.  I asked Alex what he did he want us to tell her, and he said tell her to help me.  I about lost it then, I turned around to look up the interstate and I was like where are they - and some guy behind me said they are coming, you are doing great keep talking to him.
I turned around and just kept talking. I found out that Alex didn't play sports now, he played football in high school.  He was a running back.  He was studying Political Science in school.  I told him he must be really smart.
At this time an older black gentleman came up and but his hand on my back, he said you are doing great, I'm a DR and I am just going to assess what I can, I am on the phone (he had a hands free in his ear) with the hospital and the ambulance.  I said what is your name - he said "Legget".  So I said to Alex, hey Alex... this is DR Legget.  He is looking to see how bad you are hurt and he is talking to the ambulance right now. We are going to get you out. I promise, help is on the way.
About this time we could hear sirens.  And I told him, Alex I can hear the sirens help is here, it won't be long now until you are out. I promise, but I am going to stay right here with you until they get here.  Ok - he was like ok. I said once they get here I am going to have to move so they can get you out, but you are going to be ok - and I am going to be praying for you - ok - he said yes.  Ok.  By that time the fire truck had pulled up and one of the fireman was walking up to me me - so I said to Alex, they are here.  They are going to get you out I have to get out of their way.  And I turned to the fireman and said, "His name is Alex, he is 20, he is the only one in the car, he is responsive and coherent and he says he hurts everywhere." 
I then move way back away over to one of the firetrucks.  The young girl who had Alex's mother on the phone came over to me and said she wanted to talk to me - so I got on the phone and I told her that I wasn't going to lie, it was a bad accident but that he was responsive and that he had given me her name and number from memory and that he had talked to me the whole time until the rescue crew had gotten there.  I then told her I was going to hand the phone to the police officer who now was on the scene.
The rescue crew had to cut Alex out of the car.  I didn't actually see "all of him" when they got him out.  All I could see was his right hand which was very bloody and then a part of his left leg which was cut really bad.
Now... this is where I have to tell you, I must have been in a small amount of shock by this time because there were actually about 20 people standing around and I kid you not there was actually people taking photos with their cell phone cameras!!!!  I kid you not.... people were taking video and photos!!!!
Now, if you see a really bad wreck and you want to be morbid (in my opinion) and take photos of the cars/accident scene - whatever... but NOT when there are HURT people in the car.  NOT when they are cutting those people out of the car!  Are you kidding me?!?!?  It took ever ounce of my being not to go over to these people and say - If that was YOU in the car would you want people taking photos/video?  What about if it was your mother?  Your wife/husband?  YOUR CHILD?!?!?!
I was also shocked at how many people had stopped and were just standing around.  Doing nothing, they hadn't seen the accident happen.  I mean if you can't/won't help a fellow human being out  - keep going.  Don't get out of your car, don't stop.  Just your ass in your car and keep on driving...
I have to tell you I was dumb founded... and now I am just pissed!!!  In addition to this, I had four or five people come up to me and tell me what a good job I did.  Really?!?!?  First of all I don't think I did anything... and if you want to say what I did do was "something"... well it wasn't anything that I wouldn't want someone to do for me.  I would really hope that if I had been in that car that someone would have come and talked to me and told me I wasn't alone, that help was on the way.  That is all I did.  Nothing more.
Dr. Legget came up to me and put his arm around me and said you did a great job, it takes a special kind of person to do what you did.  And while I appreciate what he said (as he did help by calling the hospital and ambulance) I still didn't think I did anything special.
What I really wanted to say to all those other people was - I DIDN'T do ANYTHING that any of them couldn't have done as well.  I didn't need a special degree, I didn't need any training, I just want to make sure that Alex knew he was not alone, that help WAS on its way and he was going to be ok.
This event has really shaken me.  It has brought home that life can change, it can change in an instant.  And that humans/humanity has lost its sympathy, its empathy - their compassion. I think people have lost their common sense.  People have become so self serving, so self fullfilling...  and THAT truly scares me.
Until Next Time.

Lori McDonald, Designer

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Caroline October 6, 2010 at 12:53 AM  

You were lead there to be there for Alex and to keep that contact going til help arrived. YOU were meant to be there to show others the right way to respond, the caring way to respond the ONLY way!! Take heart that YOU were there, and that Alex (and his Mum) had you and your hubby to get him through this terrible time. Thank God for YOU and Andrew, that's all I can say! hugs, caz

agmommy October 6, 2010 at 10:54 AM  

Lori, I often feel the same way. There are so many people in this world that should be ashamed of themselves. Just like so many people that try to "keep up with the Jones's" they want to earn the notariety of saying they were there, they saw it...and have an advantage over their friends. It's wrong and they don't see it that way. Your story moved me to tears...I am so thankful you were there to help Alex. If I'm ever in an accident like that I would hope someone as kind-hearted as you will be there to help me. God Bless You!

Kelly S October 6, 2010 at 4:48 PM  

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. While it is true that anybody could have done what you did, it was you that actually did it. And that makes you and your actions very special. It is very sad that no one else thought to do it. Alex can be grateful that you and your husband happened to be driving that route.

Ileana October 7, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

It's unbelievable that they would take pictures/video. I would be outraged too.

It would be nice to know how Alex is doing. Let us know if you hear from him.

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