Saturday, May 16, 2015
Today I am grateful for the facts. The world knows that there was a dreadful train derailment in Philadelphia, causing hundreds of injuries and eight deaths. We also know that the train was traveling at a speed of 106 mph and that the emergency brake had been deployed. Those are facts according to the guy from the National Transportation Safety Board.
The same gentleman urges us to not speculate about the cause until all of the data has been gathered and the information has been analyzed. He’s right. But it isn’t easy for most of us. Most of us want to blame someone and we want to blame them NOW without the facts. Even the mayor wants to cast blame at the engineer for speeding.
I have been trying to play devil’s advocate, weighing pros and cons, what if’s and maybe’s. I have been close enough to crimes and disasters to know that what you hear in the media is not always the way you see it when you are there first hand.
A long time ago, before my youngest son was even born, my father-in-law in that marriage was murdered, shot in the head in his own home. It was a dreadful experience to go through, but what I learned is that everyone ELSE seems to think they know the facts. They don’t.
Fast forward to Jakarta, Indonesia when we lived there and watched the uprisings of political unrest on CNN, every day, in a loop that made it look so much worse for all of us living there than it actually was, terrifying our state-side families and friends. The fact was it was life as normal at least 99.9% of the time.
These are only two of many instances that have conditioned me to wait for the “facts”. People pretend they know the facts when they don’t. They are guessing. They are angry and want someone to blame. They want to pick up a metaphorical rock and throw it at someone, something, so that they can stop feeling helpless. But it won’t help.
To some it may seem wishy-washy to not render an immediate opinion. Others might think I am a chameleon waiting to see which way the wind blows before deciding my opinion. There are those who might find me uninformed or spineless. I don’t care. I’m waiting for the facts.
I am not ready to condemn the engineer of that Amtrack train because the current facts show that he was not on drugs, not under the influence of alcohol, not asleep and not on his phone. Something else is amiss. I feel it in my guts. Today there is talk of a projectile that possibly hit the train and the FBI has been called in. Aha! Let’s see where this leads. I can wait for the facts.