Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Atlas Fraley Update

We still don't know the cause of Atlas Fraley's death.
But that doesn't mean we have to find someone to blame it on.
While we must be careful not to assume too much, I think it's fairly safe to assume, at this point, that Fraley had a medical condition that no one knew about.

When a young person dies in such a mysterious way, it's a natural human thing to respond to it with a lot of questions, and a lot of anger. I don't blame anyone for being angry. I confess, I am guilty of the same thing myself.

On Wednesday, March 18, the day after St. Patrick's Day, I saw about 15 seconds worth of news coverage on TV about the newly released statement from the medical examiner. I was quite disturbed that the autopsy findings were "inconclusive." (Is someone trying to cover his butt?)

Going online, nothing new in there either. I check again Thursday and Friday, and it's more news articles that say the same old thing. All of them are very short, just a few sentences, none of them telling us anything we didn't already know.

I am ready to scream, "What the hell's going on?" while visions of angry mobs dance through my head.

Then on Saturday, March 21, I find this in the News & Observer.


Kudos to staff writer Jesse James DeConto, for having the sensitivity to respond to everyone's nagging questions.
Why was he left alone?
Why weren't his parents notified?
Why wasn't he taken to the hospital?
Finally, we get some answers.
The next thing I know, I find myself developing a whole new perspective.

So I was about to write this up, when I get yet another incoming angry message.
But this one isn't a message attacking the Orange County 911 Emergency Medical Service, but one defending them, with every bit as much anger.
A reader says that I shouldn't need to be reminded that our EMS is very dedicated to saving lives and aiding the injured, and they deserve a whole lot more credit than they are getting.

I was pretty knocked back by this. I need some time to recover, and to decide how to respond. Until then, all the angry messages I've received were directed against the EMS. Feeling defensive, I want to know why this reader thinks it's my fault the EMS is under fire. I want to fire back, but I have to think about it instead.

I know someone who works as a dispatcher for 911. In the wee hours of the morning during March of last year, I received a message saying Chapel Hill Police have found a dead body of a young white female, in the Hillcrest area of Chapel Hill. This was later identified as the body of Eve Carson. How thankful I should be to have people who can deliver important news to me, before the news media has time to write it up.

Gee, I guess I do owe them something.

I did not know Atlas Fraley, but since last August I have read a lot about him, and have heard a lot about him from people I have met. I am under the impression that this young man was a big lovable bear with a great big heart that was just so full of love for everyone. I don't think he would be too happy to see us slinging mud at each other in his wake, especially over something that happened that no one could see coming.

There was this guy named Jesus who said,
"Blessed are the peace makers..."
It must be worth a try, don't you think?


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