A Shitty Story…

 

I should warn you up front; this post has nothing at all to do with training or nutrition. It is not a happy story either. In fact, it might make you feel like crap so you can just stop right here if you like.

Just recently some asshole shot and killed a bunch of kids and adults. I’m not going to mention his name or the crime specifically but I’m sure you are all aware. Personally I think part of the problem is that some nut-job who is a social nobody can commit a despicable act of violence and his name will be known to millions around the world and possibly even grab the attention of the leader of the free world. To a twisted prick who has lived their life in relative obscurity this could seem like an enticing way to check yourself off the planet as opposed to hanging dead and alone in your parent’s closet. Well, it’s probably not a big deal but that piece of shit isn’t getting any notoriety from me.

I am not here to make a profound statement about the crime. What’s done is done and I’ll leave it up to more intelligent people to debate about “what we can learn from this”. I do however have a strong opinion about how the media reacts after an event like this and how they treat the people that have been directly affected by the horror.

I for one don’t need to see the crying family members, or peek in at their children’s funeral. I’m sure my mind can conjure up what those emotions and scenes will look like. I gain absolutely nothing by being privy to their sorrow. Those moments are intensely private and I am learning nothing new by being a voyeur. I will tell you why I feel this way.

I have parents that are probably not much different than yours. They weren’t perfect. I’ve learned how to be and, how NOT to be, from both of them. Regardless, I’ve always loved and respected them both.

After I got out of school I started working at the local newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This was the early nineties before the digital media boom. Back then we had a pretty big circulation and were under the Times-Mirror banner. My old man was the Local editor and worked the nightshift. He was a pretty big deal there; one of the bosses. We shared the same shift but worked in different departments. Since we both had our days free my father threw out the idea that we go golfing together one day. I always thought that golf was a “rich-old-white-guy” game and felt kind of weird getting together with my dad socially like that. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, we just didn’t have that type of relationship.

Well, fast-forward a few years and me and my father became good buddies and golfed together close to once a week. What I loved more than the golfing though was afterwards when we would get together for a beer and a sandwich at the clubhouse. My dad would smoke his Salems and tell me stories about his past until we had to get to work and put out the next morning’s paper. One story he told me gave me insight into the type of man he really was…

My dad was a young cub reporter at a newspaper in Evansville, Indiana. I’m guessing he was somewhere in his early twenties so this was probably in the late 50′s or early 60′s. A young, six year old girl from the area was raped, murdered, dismembered, and buried in a shallow grave. Her body was found and the murderer was caught. My father was given the assignment of going to the little girl’s funeral and interviewing the girl’s family members.

It was a cold, gray morning as the family huddled around the open grave. My father kept his distance. The scene was probably something you’d expect from family members grieving over such an innocent life that was snuffed out by unspeakable acts of evil. The funeral ended and the people made their way to their cars. My dad kept his distance. He couldn’t bring himself to approach anyone.

My father left the graveyard and drove to a payphone. He knew that his bosses at the paper were going to be pissed that he didn’t get the story. He was right. His editor on the end of the line was livid and told him that he had better come back with a statement from the dead girl’s family or he’d better not come back at all. His boss then told him that today was actually the deceased 6 year old girl’s birthday and that the relatives were all gathering at the girl’s parents house after the funeral. They said he had better get over there and get that interview or he wouldn’t have a job to come back to. My mother was pregnant with my second older brother at the time and my dad needed the job so he agreed to do what his boss had asked.

He walked up onto the front porch and heard the family members inside. My father looked through a window and saw that the family had gotten a birthday cake for their slain six year old daughter and they were all gathered around the table ready to light the candles. Just then the screen door opened and the murdered girl’s father approached my father and placed his hand on my dad’s chest. My old man lowered his head and shook it apologetically and said, “I know, I know, I don’t want to be here. I’m so sorry.”

The girl’s father saw my dad’s anguish and seemed to take pity on him. He said he recognized my father from the graveyard earlier. He walked my old man over to the front steps and sat him down where they both had a conversation. My father didn’t tell me everything that they spoke about but he told me one thing the man said that he would never forget. He told me that the girl’s father understood that some people in this world are just evil. Though very difficult, he understood why the murderer chopped up his daughter and buried her. The man just didn’t want to be caught and was covering his tracks. Although horribly twisted, it made sense. What the father couldn’t make sense of was the raping of a six year old girl. The father just couldn’t wrap his mind around that one.

My old man took a sip of his beer and said to me, “I never did give them that story.”

I asked my dad if his bosses were pissed, did he get fired, was he reprimanded? He took a drag off of his cigarette and shrugged me off and said, “Nah, nuthin’ happened.”

I’m sure something happened. I just know how to take a hint. My old man wanted to change the subject.

So there you have it. The exploitative, blood-thirsty press never got their story. Did they NEED to know the depths of pain that a father of a raped and murdered child feels? I would say, no. My dad also said no. But now, some fifty years later, YOU my friends and readers of my MustacheMan Training blog, got the scoop.

Hope you feel like shit.

Thanks for reading.

11 Responses to “A Shitty Story…”

  1. Pete Kruvczuk December 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Yea man ur dads boss is a piece of shit. Couldn’t even reason with him, no just get out there and do something horrible because the media craves this shit?

    Hey man, keep doing what you’re doing, be yourself and keep kicking ass. All we can really do is just be ourselves, unfortunately there’s scumbags out there that commit horrible acts and then the dick bags that feed off of the results. I dot really have much else to say it really is a shitty story and I don’t want to get too deep into it.

    I’ll see you at the next Mudder my friend.

  2. Michael T. December 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Thank you Andy, this is perfect. I hope you don’t mind if I share your piece with some of the parents I know. I wrote a similar critique of the media’s hand in all this on Saturday in response to FB post.

    As one who has spent most of my life in the medium of radio, the music business, a Gannett newspaper and now earn my living because of the Internet, I am very familiar with the functioning of media. The audience is the product being sold; the programs are to attract the audiences to be delivered to the corporate advertisers who foot the bill for ALL of it.

    Those who are old enough to remember the University of Texas massacre in ’66, before every single home had multiple TVs and cable, will note that as media proliferated with increased coverage, dissection, and attention to painstaking detail, so did the number and frequency of these events. This is NOT a coincidence. John Lennon’s killer knew that his name would be tied forever in infamy with Lennon’s, which was his calculated, twisted goal from the start, (and why many of us still never use his name).

    The public will ingest what it’s fed, and the fringe element will see their last ‘glorious’ moments preserved for all time, which is what they are after. We in the media have to voluntarily stop giving them what they want.

    Imposed censorship is unworkable. We are a death, war and sexual violence obsessed culture – watch prime TV, go a movie, play a video game. Americans eat this stuff up and combined, entertainment is our largest commercial export to the world. The censorship has to come from the purveyors themselves. The writers, directors, software developers and their employers need to stop chasing Almighty Dallah and ask themselves: does the world really need another script about a serial killer, a scantily clad woman being raped and killed, another shoot ‘em up video game, another Clint Eastwood macho dickhead film about winners/losers killers/victims? The public can do their part by not supporting any of it. Turn off the TV and stop buying these products. American media and its audiences seriously need to grow a fucking conscience.

    The airwaves cannot be owned; they are only regulated by the government (Communications Act of 1947). The FCC turned them over to the highest bidders, with the tiny exception of those at the far end of the dial. In exchange for that, they were once required to do programming “in the public interest” (remember that phase?) and devote equal time to multiple viewpoints. The Reagan administration decided those requirements were ‘job-killing regulations’, and lifted them in 1984, leading to the irresponsible infotainment and corporate/political prostitution spree and advertising/lobbyist orgy that now controls our electronic town hall.

    It is impossible to overstate the damage done to our representative government by the repeal of the equal time provision. Immediately, big-mouthed, uneducated punks like Limbaugh were free to spew their hateful, unsubstantiated garbage 24/7 unchallenged. It was subtle, incremental and deliberate. Citizens became ‘taxpayers’, military juntas ‘freedom fighters’, equality advocates ‘feminazis’, etc.’, and most Americans believe the laughable, unquestioned lie that the media is ‘liberal’ as an established fact.

    Why do candidates have to go on their knees to beg for the billions of dollars to pay Murdoch and Ailes, etc, for the airwaves that anyone with a CB radio or micro transmitter can access? Because the licenses are granted to profit-driven corporations whose exist to generate cash for their shareholders.

    The media has no incentive to give up that cash cow. We, the people, need to demand our airwaves back, and CHARGE THEM RENT. They need to once again start broadcasting in the public interest, or have their licenses jerked.

    The Founders did not protect a Free Press (the ONLY business specifically mentioned in the Constitution) so that Murdoch’s henchmen could tap murdered teenagers’ cellphones – it was intended to be a watchdog.

    Campaigns need to be 6 weeks long at best, and airtime ABSOLUTELY FREE for those who can garner enough signatures to get put on the ballot. Then, lobbying groups like the NRA can find something useful to do with their time, instead of paying off politicians and media companies to maintain gun manufacturers’ billion-dollar profits.

    I’m sorry if that doesn’t fit into a convenient bumper sticker like ‘when guns are outlawed…’

  3. robjan December 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Great article.

  4. Bill December 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Thanks so much for the article. I woke up this morning to the Today Show, and they were interviewing the daughter of one of the slain teachers. I refused to watch it and turned the channel. Their grief is so private that it does not need to be shared with the world. I hate how the media feeds off the pain of others.

  5. Jonathan December 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Yup. You warned me and now you’re right. I feel like shit. A d not so much cause I ‘got the scoop.’

  6. Muffin December 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Thank you.

  7. Patrick March 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    I am a father of an 8 year old little girl. After I saw the first news cast of the incident, I refused to talk about it or watch news footage. To this day I don’t know the details and don’t want to. I am a Deputy Sheriff, I,worked homicide for five years, I’ve seen enough pain and suffering I don’t need the media cramming it down my throat.

    GREAT INSIGHT!

    • Mustacheman March 3, 2013 at 12:22 am #

      Thanks Patrick. Sounds like you can comment with true authority on this subject. Much respect brother.

  8. Lindsey April 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    This is a very late response to something written months ago, but I couldn’t be happier that I stumbled upon it today. The event that inspired you to write this happened in my hometown, and I was there in the days following. What was the most infuriating was the overwhelming media presence in a very small town, getting in the way and not even reporting the truth. Your father’s story is beautiful, and I wish more people had respected the sheer human-ness of the situation and maintained boundaries. To have gone to a memorial for one of those killed, a friend’s mother, and seen a police barricade blocking the press from it all was unbelievable. It really speaks to our shifted morals that we care more about “getting the story” than about respecting a grieving family, and I just wanted to thank you for writing this. And the same thanks and love to your wonderful father for being a soulful person when presented with a choice.

    • Mustacheman April 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Thanks, Lindsay! I’m glad you liked it and I appreciate the nice comments.

  9. Kim June 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Indeed, a horrible story to share, but I’m glad you did. Maybe it will give someone pause … and it is nice to hear a story of personal integrity at a time when so few seem to grasp that concept. Your dad must have been an amazing man.

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