15 Jun Choosing Compassion in the Wake of Tragedy
As I was working on my computer late last night I was shocked to see a headline about a toddler who had just been snatched from the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. I immediately wondered how could this happen at the Happiest Place on Earth? Why can’t Orlando seem to catch a break this week? As the mom of a two-year old boy, this news story hit close to home, and I immediately felt horrified and heartbroken.
This morning, as much of the world likely was waking up to this awful news, I couldn’t help but notice just how uncaring and callous people are. I read a number of news articles on Facebook and many of the comments that have been made are infuriating. Why do people seem to begin the finger pointing immediately when tragedy strikes? My goodness, we don’t even have all of the details of this heart-wrenching story and people are all ready quick to assign blame. While I’m not saying that things shouldn’t be closely looked at in order to prevent this from ever happening again, I do think that people need to be more compassionate and slow to speak.
Seriously, I have read comments stating that the family got what they deserved for being so careless. Are you kidding me? What family deserves to have this happen to them? Had this family known that an alligator could be lurking near the shore of the lagoon in the heart of Disney World I highly doubt they would’ve been playing on that beach. I’ve also seen comments that the dad should’ve fought the alligator harder and that he must not have been trying. Seriously? I’d love to see the individuals who have made this comment try to pry open the vice-like grip of a hungry Florida gator. It’s extremely unfair to assume that the dad didn’t try to save his son because the alligator got away. Until you’re in this situation I just don’t think you have any right to make such horrible accusations.
I’ve also seen numerous comments essentially stating that the parents are idiots because everyone knows not to be near the shoreline at dusk. While yes, there is truth to knowing about the threat of alligators, I think we forget to consider that this happened in a manmade lagoon in very close proximity to a luxury Disney resort. Also, we must remember that this family is from Nebraska and it’s likely that they didn’t know or weren’t thinking about alligator safety while playing near their hotel. It’s not like they were out in the middle of the Everglades where you would expect an alligator to possibly attack a human. We don’t know what the family was thinking and I think it’s fair to say that they had no clue that an alligator would snatch their unsuspecting toddler who was splashing in the water. I do realize that people will light them up for failing to use common sense, but on the other hand, they likely had no idea that such dangerous wildlife could make it’s way into the resort. This is a mistake that will haunt them for the rest of their lives and this is a time where they need support and not hurtful criticism. It’s always easier to think you see what went wrong and what you would’ve done in that situation when you’re not the one living out the nightmare.
To those who have decided to avoid playing the blame game at this point, I thank you. Instead of trying to rake this family through the coals I urge you to take a minute to put yourself in their shoes. I can’t even begin to fathom what they are going through. After pausing to think about this I urge you to say a prayer for them. Remember to pray for them in the coming weeks and months, as the road that is ahead is going to be difficult to navigate. They have got to be in shock and are hurting in a way that most of us cannot even imagine. Let’s try to make a conscious effort to grieve with this family who is grieving instead of adding more pain to an already unimaginably devastating situation.