Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ma'am, I'm so sorry for your loss...

...perhaps a court-ordered tubal ligation will help?

Notice how I'm constantly mentioning all the damned rain we're getting?

Well, lots of rain means lots of saturated ground. Saturated ground means runoff. Runoff means swollen creeks and rivers.

Which attract kids like this Garland, TX woman's 13 year old boy. It seems that she's furious at the rescue crews who worked for 3 hours to try to rescue her son, William Griffin. William, it seemed, could not swim. He was playing in the water, and got swept away. He managed to cling to a bridge collumn, and the firefighters sensibly threw him a rope to initiate some kind of rescue procedure. He couldn't hold on, and was swept away in waters running up to 50 mph. Crews stationed at two other bridges downstream couldn't recover him.

Tragic. We all feel bad. It's sad when a kid dies.

But Tonya Williams, the boy's mother, says that her kid died because of the rescue crew. "They could have walked through that water, and gotten my son and taken him to safety, but they didn't do that. They threw him a rope, and that was it."

Garland rescuers tried to get to the boy, and began to lose their footing. They searched and found him a half mile downstream, and attempted CPR, but he didn't make it.

_ _ _ _ _

Folks, I'll be honest-- I want a state law disallowing rescue crews to be sent into harm's way to rescue any adults (over 18) who put themselves into flood waters. Drive past a barrier and get your car swept away in the high water? Oh well. If your gene line is worth saving, you'll figure out how to swim to safety.

With a kid under 18, it's hard. I think that the firefighters and rescue team did what they could. I'm sure that if the scene had been more stable, they'd have put a Zodiak in and gotten the kid.

But my old Boy Scout Lifeguard training was that, in saving a drowning person, you Reach, Throw, Row, Go. That means, poke out your arm or a pole, throw them a rope or a floatation device, or take a boat... in that order, before you ever consider physically going in after them. When you physically go in after a drowning person, you put yourself at huge risk, because drowning persons will kill you. They don't mean to-- they just want to climb out of the water, and will step on your head to do it. A large portion of rescue swimming is learning how to capture a drowning person by the neck from behind.

This lady woman, though, expected people to walk through high water running up to 50 mph to pick up and carry her 13 year old boy back to the bank. I've no idea how much her 13 year-old weighed, but I weighed about 170 lbs at that age. (I was 6'3") Given her fine level of physique, it's a fair bet that he was above the average weight for a 13 year old.

They threw him a rope. They put men in the water. They put people downstream. But but it's their fault that he got in the raging water when he couldn't swim.



Friends, I'll tell you a little secret: None of us gets out of this life alive. And Malthus would NOT be happy with the way we're creating a society that believes that we are OWED a rescue from ourselves.

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22 Comments:

At Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:06:00 AM, Blogger Strings said...

You do what you can, to save the ones you can. The others... I just don't know what to tell you...

It DOES seem like there's a HUGE disconnect between people's actions, and their acceptance of the consequences...

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:11:00 AM, Blogger GeorgeH said...

Letting a child reach 3 without knowing how to swim is reckless endangerment. Letting your child reach 13 without knowing how to swim is felony child abuse.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:51:00 AM, Anonymous Billy Sparks said...

Ah yes, the Rescue 911 syndrome. Everything has a happy ending and every rescue ends good. She let him play near the water, she did not make him learn to swim but yet someone else is responsible for her son's death. Anything else I want to say you do not say in mixed company.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:11:00 AM, Blogger HollyB said...

Thank you, Matt, for putting into words the outrage I was feeling when I saw this report on the news last night.
I know, and so do you, that some of her spouting was coming from grief and the attendant anger, at herself for her failures as as mother. But she cannot admit THAT, especially to herself.
I wonder how long it will be before some bottom feeding member of the Bar is knocking on her door and offering to file suit against the City of Garland and their deep pockets for a percentage of the inevitable settlement, just like the Ft. Worth Water Gardens case.
Where has personal responsibility gone?

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:18:00 AM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

There but for the grace of God...

I feel for anyone who loses a child. Really. I can't imagine the overwhelming grief. Last night in Dallas they used a clip of this woman saying her son was dead because of these emergency workers to tease the 9 o'clock news. I didn't watch the program, because in that 5 seconds I could tell the lay of the land. Here was a so-called mother who didn't ensure her child could swim and didn't exercise enough control or proper instruction to keep him from a dangerous situation. With a bank of cameras at her beck and call, she saw the opportunity to start building a case for her lawsuit toute-de-suite. No doubt she's been contacted by dozens of lawyers already.

For her to attack emergency rescue personnel is unconscionable. Yes, absolutely! Neuter her and the horse she rode in on. Thinning the herd, winnowing out the chaff & whatnot.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:55:00 AM, Blogger Squeaky Wheel said...

I'll contribute some money to the fund for her sterilization.

My sisters and I learned how to swim fairly easily...and I'm pretty damned uncoordinated, so it can't be THAT hard to doggie paddle, and that's the best way to keep your head above water (hence why animals INSTINCTIVELY do it). By the age of 13 I knew every swim stroke there was (even if I wasn't great at them), and a few lifesaving techniques, mainly because my grandmother thought it was a good idea to keep my sisters and myself occupied with swim lessons during the summer.

Even most mentally incapacitated people can be taught to swim, as well.

What I'm saying is, there's no excuse for this kid not being taught a basic swim stroke (even in words, if he wasn't near a pool...it's amazing which instructions will actually click when it comes down to the wire). NONE. Any parent concerned with their child's safety should cover these sorts of things as soon as they're able to understand consequences. Oh, and generally it's not a good idea to play near running water. Just as an aside.

Stupid bitch.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:50:00 AM, Anonymous Chris in SE TX said...

Nobody should be EXPECTED to risk their life in order to feed their family. The rescuers have families. Children. Wifes. Husbands. Its so nice to see this fat failure of a mother want to deprive other children of their father or mother, in order to make up for her shortcomings and/or tragic accident. If THEY could have walked through the water, her son could have walked through that water.

My wife is an EMT and it scares me that one day she may put her safety on the line to try to save someone. The fact that the EMTs don't wear seatbelts in the back of the ambulance because it inhibits patient care scares me. Her co-worker drove an ambulance when the other EMT died in the back when they had a collision. #1 killer of EMTs are vehicle accidents.

Judging from this woman's carefully groomed appearance, well maintained physique, AND the fact that she let a 13 year old who couldn't swim play near the water, or more likely didn't know where he was playing, I (however badly it may make me look) will say that more than likely she hasn't amounted to anything. More than likely, her son would not have amounted to anything either. Other than a burden on society, taxpayers and the criminal justice system.

I know. It's cold.

But, I want the rescuers to come home alive to their families, after they have done EVERYTHING SAFELY POSSIBLE to save her son, more than I want her son to come home.

I know that everyone involved in this rescue is now having to live with questioning themselves if they did all they could. That bitch is adding to their already heavy burden. Whether to ease her own, or to start building a lawsuit, it's a shitty thing to do. I know of parents THANKING the medical staff for doing everything they did trying to save their child, not blaming them for the death.

She's a lowlife.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:34:00 PM, Blogger BobG said...

"They could have walked through that water, and gotten my son and taken him to safety, but they didn't do that. They threw him a rope, and that was it."

And if it was so damn easy, why didn't she walk in and rescue him? I'm sure that she probably outweighed most of the rescue people, and would have had less chance of being washed away.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous Rabbit said...

I'm going to go out on a hypothetical limb here and speculate that the babydaddy isn't around, that the live in Section 8 housing, and that she was busy watching Judge Judy all afternoon worrying that her Lone Star card was out of 'swipe' for the month while Junior was out all day playing in the monsoon.

I bet she plays the lottery, too. I'm sure she probably has 4 more just like the lost one in her 2 bedroom apartment and that her entitlement payments are going to go down as a result of the casualty.

Yeah, I know I'm a poor example of an undersympathetic human being.

Regards,
Rabbit.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:58:00 PM, Blogger HollyB said...

DANG, I withheld some of my stronger thoughts when I posted my earlier comment for fear of sounding too harsh towards a mother who had just lost a child.

I don't need to post those thought now cause the rest of y'all have pretty much covered that ground.

Bravo and Brava!

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:00:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Whew! There's some strong feelings out there!

First, friends, I don't think that an Olympic freestyle swimmer could be guarrenteed to swim to the shore in a 50 mph current. But having some idea could have given him a chance of making it to the next bridge.

I suspect that it happened like this:
Kid falls in, probably because an undercut bank caved in.
Kid's friend runs and calls for help.
First responder, as is common, was the ambulance.
The ambulance crew has very little rescue equipment, but they've got a rope.
They toss a rope to the kid, thinking to just make the situation static until the water rescue firemen arrive.
Kid tries to wrap the rope around his waist, loses his perch on the collumn that he's on, and gets swept away, losing his grip on the rope.
The call goes out to put crews on downstream bridges, but too late.
The remainder of the 3 hours was spent looking for the kid's body, before finding it half a mile downstream in the weeds, and attempting unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.

It's not perfect.
Probably it would have been better if the ambulance crew had put a loop in the rope, first.

Probably it would have been better if the men trying to reach him down stream had roped up to get further out.

Probably it would have been better if every single piece of Garland's fire and EMS apparatus had a special rack atop it, with a little outboard Zodiak boat snapped in, and every single EMT and paramedic and firefighter were trained in swift-water rescue.

But they're not, and most people would throw a bleedin' FIT if they found out that their tax moneys were being squandered that way, and demand, next time a kid was washed away as they tried to deploy a $20,000 rubber boat, they didn't "just throw him a rope?"

Frankly, at this point, my heart goes out to the Garland Fire/EMS/Police personnel who had to watch a child die that day.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:52:00 PM, Blogger BellaLinda said...

I'll be honest, I can't swim. I've had swimming lessons three different times, the last time one-on-one. I just can't do it. I don't know why. My mother is the same way.

Then again, I don't go out and play in conditions like this.

Around here they put up barricades well in advance of low water crossings. The same ones flood every time. And there's always some idiot that drives around the barricade & gets swept away. They now fine them $450 for rescue, but I've always thought that at the very least they should be charged the actual cost.

I sort of feel for this woman, but as soon as your ass hits the water, you're dust. Successful rescues are miracles, & you shouldn't expect miracles. Some folks just aren't smart enough to come in out of the rain.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 7:03:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

Matt,
You and I both know, but I'll say it for those who don't.

The rescuers wanted to go out in that water.
They saw a child in danger, and that very special set of emotions/morals/whatever made them willing to risk their lives for him. If they had thought for one second that the rope would not have worked, they would have done something else. But the best chance someone has of rescue is if they can help themselves. If he was (and he was) awake, and able to follow commands, the best thing was a rope.

You are correct, we are taught throw, row, go. Going in the water is the last most extreme and dangerous thing a rescuer is trained to do. I have no doubt that all of the firemen there were willing to do just that at the extreme risk to themselves to save the boy.

I know several folks on the FD in Garland. I expect tommorrow to hear the 'unofficial' report on what happened.

I know the mother is upset, I understand. But venting on the FD is still not right. I know the firemen are very upset as well.

Mr Fixit

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:59:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I was hoping you'd weigh in, Fixit.

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 10:41:00 PM, Blogger Mark said...

My response is unprintable as a former EMT-D and Volunteer, if I said what I want to say I wouldn't be able to look at myself in the mirror. So I will say this. I pray that the Lord comforts her and takes her son into his bosom, and may she find some type of peace.

The EMT's Firefighters and other rescuers also need our prayers. After this and with her actions and words she has shamed them through no fault of their own. and they will be asking themselves if they could have done something different, even though they did what was right, and with their equipment they had no other options.

Mark

 
At Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:23:00 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

"Reach, throw, row, go."

One thing I had a really hard time learning (when I was young and invincable) is that some people are just not savable, due to the existing conditions. I am sad for her loss, but I am happy it was not the death of the boy and one or more rescuers.

 
At Friday, June 29, 2007 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

Call this from an "Informed Source".

Here's what happened. 2 boys, about 13 years old, are playing beside creek. They were unsupervised. Not sure if mom/dad were inside the house and they were in the yard, or if they were out playing away from home. Doesn't matter, they were playing beside and in the area of a creek known to flood at the slightest rain. It had been raining for days.

The boys decide, despite the fact they can't swim, it would be fun to "tube" the creek. They get an innertube, and enter the creek. One of them is swept off the tube, and down the creek. The other calls for help.

Fire and police descend on the area in droves. Police see the boy moving downstream. One police officer enters water and is almost swept away himself. Boy keeps moving downstream. Second police officer enters water and is swept away, self rescues and exits water as boy moves further downstream. Firefighters see boy, one enters water, and is almost swept away as boy moves past.

Boy is swept toward bridge, as he approaches, firefighters race ahead. As boy gets to bridge, he grabs bridge piller. In the next 15-20 seconds, fire department throws rope to boy, who is in the process of being swept off bridge piller. As the boy is loosing grip on the bridge, boy grabs rope, and looses hold, and is swept downstream.

Police and fire keep searching downstream, and find body in water and high grass over one hour later. CPR is started to no avail.

3 people, 2 Police Officers, and one Firefighter entered the water. Boy was in position to throw rope for less than 1/2 minute.

Boy was unsupervised, outside near flooded and swollen creek, and couldn't swim but decided to go tubing.

Obviusly it's the Fire and Police Departments fault that Jr. Died.

I truly feel for the families loss. But don't blame the people who nearly died trying to rescue him from himself, and your lack of parenting.

 
At Friday, June 29, 2007 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Thanks for the update, Fixit. I figured that it was something like that. He went tubing, when he couldn't swim?

I must refer to BellaLinda's remark, above: "I sort of feel for this woman, but as soon as your ass hits the water, you're dust. Successful rescues are miracles, & you shouldn't expect miracles. Some folks just aren't smart enough to come in out of the rain."

I'm thankful none of the first-responders were killed.

I'm trying to imagine trying to swim in my heavy lace-up boots, Level II vest, and 15 lb duty belt, through heavy currents.

 
At Friday, June 29, 2007 1:15:00 PM, Anonymous lk said...

Sad. Mr. fixit's version is a lot more believable.

There was a lawsuit here a while ago. An 8 yr old boy drowned in a swimming pool. Somehow the parents thought it was the pool owner's fault, the lifeguard's fault, the health inspector's fault, and I forget who else was named in the suit. Probably other swimmers would have been if they had known names.

The judge assigned 90% of the blame to the parents and the other 10% collectively to the other parties. No money was awarded and the parents had to pay court costs.

It really makes me mad at all the people who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and those they collect welfare on.

 
At Friday, June 29, 2007 8:11:00 PM, Blogger DW said...

Folks,
The swift water/cold water rescue is a special issue. I was certified through the state of Alaska. The thrown rope is always the first thing. Manned by someone in a wetsuit, life jacket, crash helmet and of course gloves. The thing we trained more than anyother was self rescue. First not getting in the dangerous position. Failing that, how to orient your self in the water, how to right an inflatable, how to swim in all the gear.

The techniques do not lend themselves to rapid intervention, ropes, boats, ladders, protective gear, all take time. A tired scared child has no time. Those would be rescuers were standing on a knifes edge doing things the trained would never attempt, because they saw a child about to die.

They are heros, though they will never see it that way.

 
At Saturday, June 30, 2007 4:25:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

D.W., I'd appreciate if you'd post your comments here a letter to the editor to our newspaper or even to Fox News in Dallas/Ft.Worth.

 
At Tuesday, August 07, 2007 4:25:00 AM, Blogger KD5NRH said...

"I'm trying to imagine trying to swim in my heavy lace-up boots, Level II vest, and 15 lb duty belt, through heavy currents."

Well, no armor or duty belt, but I've had to do it in boots, jeans, and a jacket in a moderate river current, and in a chest wader in a lake. Suffice it to say that if you try it in your duty gear, the best possible outcome will involve shivering and hoping your buddies can dredge up your belt before the chief finds out and sends you back in after it.

It's also fairly amazing how fast you can get out of wet jeans while trying to swim. Being somewhat less flexible now, I suspect that my solution would involve a knife.

OTOH, this is why I carry 100' of >300lb rated rope in the trunk, along with a jug of water. (Pour out half, tie the rope on the handle, and it's a heaving weight that also floats, besides the obvious uses of a gallon of clean water.)

 

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