Monday, December 22, 2008

John Walsh excerpt

I've been reading John Walsh's book "Tears of Rage". I'd like to quote p 289.

He says:

People who haven't been hit by crime can still enjoy what Reve and I call "the luxury of being naive." They go around thinking that it could never happen to them. I envy those people; I truly do. They don't know any better. They don't understand that, once it happens to you, everything changes. Every tiny aspect of your life. And even though you may look the same on the outside and may be acting the same way, on the inside you're coming from a totally different place.

To us, even back in the early days, our most basic understanding was always unspoken: Adam cannot have died in vain. If we had not gone on to do what we eventually did, we would have remained as we were: two grief-stricken, hand-wringing parents whom other people looked at and felt sorry for. But what we both came to believe was that if you are given the opportunity to change things, then how can you not at least try?

There will always be murdered children. There will always be abductions. But at least we tried to pull something out of the ashes.

That explains perfectly exactly how Mark and I feel about 9-1-1. People are very naive in thinking that it's a perfect system and that they will always save you. No, obviously they can't always save you. And human error will always exist. But to ignore it and not try to fix it seems sinful to me. No, 9-1-1 will never be perfect. But if we can improve it, who wouldn't anyone want that? A life was lost to not only human error but to negligence on the department's part by ignoring and not addressing the fact that one of their own refuses to to use the technology at their disposable appropriately.

Recently Nathan was on Dr Phil. Dispatchers from across the country expressed anger that their profession was under attack. No one's attacking their profession. We're simply trying to point out that things can and do go wrong that could be prevented. Teletype machines can and do go unmonitored and BOLOs are missed. Technology can be and is misused by ill trained people.

We've talked to other families who have lost loved ones to not only crime but to 9-1-1 mishaps. It's horrific. You have to deal with not only the ugliness and horror of what your loved one experienced but also you have to think about how they thought they were going to be saved.

I honestly believe Denise thought she was going to be saved. When she saw the cousin of the perpetrator and screamed "call the cops" you know she thought he would call the cops. When she got a hold of her captor's cell phone and had the 9-1-1 call taker on the phone for 7 minutes, you know she thought she was going to be saved. Naively she may have thought, "I'm on a cell phone, they can find my signal". I would have thought that!

And then when she could have been saved and should have been saved she wasn't. Due to bad management, bad training, and being understaffed.

So, I guess Mark and I are obsessed. But reading John Walsh I realize he was obsessed too.

It truly doesn't go away. Even at Christmas. I have a very difficult time watching people shop, and blithely go along their merry way in Charlotte County. They go along not knowing that their 9-1-1 system is in serious need of repair.

And their newly elected sheriff won't comment. As far as we know nothing's changed.

I'm almost angrier at Davenport, Cameron, and Roguska than I am at the murderer. We all know the murderer is a scumbag. But the people above are supposed to have honor and integrity. We raise our children to look up to them and emulate them. It makes me ill that they have the opportunity to change the wrongs in our 9-1-1 center but continue in their arrogance to ignore and deny.

Just my opinion of course.