Washington Outsider
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Apr 28, 2014 Washington Outsider commented on Woman Who Ran Over Three Teenage Cyclists, Killing One, Now Experiencing Episodes of "Irritability".
I'm stealing this from another site that covered the same news story (the Reddit thread is here: http://www.reddit.com/r/rage/comments/23…). It's crazy long, I know, but it's completely changed the way I look at this kind of story:

Before this lady is crucified here in the "court of Reddit opinion," let's consider all sides. Playing devil's advocate, put yourself in her shoes.

You're driving home one evening on a dark road. You're sober, you're paying attention to the road, you're not texting or even adjusting the radio. You might have edged a bit above the speed limit hurrying home, but doesn't everyone? The road is clear and you're the only one around.

Suddenly you see a flash of bicycles immediately in front of your headlights and slam on brakes a split second before feeling the horrible bump and crunch. Someone is screaming. You're stunned for a moment in complete disbelief - where could they have come from? You never took your eyes off the road! How could you not see them?

You push it from your mind and jump from the car to help. One kid is running up from a ditch, screaming his friends' names as he runs to the nearest. That boy is howling in agony, severely injured but alive. As you approach, both start swearing at you, calling you names and telling you to get away, to call the cops. You saw another bike go flying over your car, so you run back to a shadowy figure on the road behind, dialing 911 as you go.

Dear god. That kid is torn to pieces. You've never seen a human being in that shape before and you have no idea what to do. How do you aid him? Do you touch him? You try talking to him while you look for an uninjured place to lay a hand for comfort. Maybe you try to hold his hand and keep it together even as you want to panic, retch, run, scream. How the fuck did this happen?

You're pretty traumatized during the questioning, but sometime the next day you're allowed to go home. Nothing in the world looks the same though. The boy you tried to talk to is dead, another might not make it. It's weird to see the sun shining and cars driving by like nothing happened as your spouse drives you home. He calls a psychiatrist as soon as you've settled into a chair, staring out a window, replaying everything that happened. Your mind relentlessly questioning why didn't you see the boys. Telling you this was your fault. If only you hadn't left so late. If only you'd had your high beams on. If only...something.

Your story makes the local news and you see the memorial, the grieving family. You wish you could do something for them. Go to the funeral, send flowers, tell them you're sorry. But they don't want to hear from you. To them, you're their son's killer. You understand, so you sit home, unable to eat or even talk. In fact, by the time the police return to talk about the investigation, you're suffering from PTSD as surely as any war veteran.

The cops tell you that the two survivors and evidence have painted a clear picture. The boys were wearing dark clothing on bikes with hardly any reflectors. They road three abreast and did not move to the shoulder even though they surely saw and heard you coming long before you could have seen them. It was a tragedy, but it wasn't your fault. It could have been anyone. Nobody would have been able to see them and stop in time. There will be no charges.

It's little comfort to you, though. Survivor guilt eats at your mind as you go through the motions of daily life. Nothing will ever be the same after seeing what you saw that night. You haven't driven since and never want to again. Just riding in a car makes you panicky and distraught. You can't go back to work. You can't resume your normal activities. Happiness ended that night, and you're just going through the motions now, no matter who was at fault.

But for the sake of your sanity and your family, you try. The psychiatrist is helping a bit. You're holding up as best you can. Your attorney tells you that the families aren't happy with the investigation results; their child is gone and they want someone to be held responsible. You try to be understanding. They're grieving and want more answers. You cooperate and wait for the second investigation to be finalized.

Then your friend or your son or someone else says, hey...I gotta tell you something before you hear it elsewhere. That's when you learn that the parents are spreading rumors. They say you were drunk or texting. They're telling everyone and it's spreading like wildfire. People stare and whisper at the grocery store. Maybe someone even yelled "murderer!" as you picked up your mail. Prank calls start, maybe some anonymous mail or ugly posts online show up. You tell the police and shut down the avenues people have to harass you, alienating yourself from your extended family and friends as you do.

Then it hits: you're being served with a massive lawsuit, formalizing those allegations. They want to take everything from you and from your family, to leave you bankrupt if they can. The panic attack hits like a freight train as you digest the news. You break down completely and terrifyingly. Maybe it is your fault. You deserve this. Why weren't you the one who died? You've killed a child, you've ruined your family.

Those around you are outraged. They know you didn't text and weren't drunk. You don't deserve this. They want you to heal and move on. You're so emotionally wrecked, you can barely even speak with your own attorney. But your husband is standing strong and tells him to fight it. You've already lost thousands in missed work, paying doctors and psychiatrists and lawyers for something that wasn't even your fault. It's not right, and someone is going to fight for you in this.

The attorney tells you that the best course is to offset their demands with a counter-suit for all the suffering the accident has caused you. You are also a victim here, but instead of letting you heal, these people have dragged matters out, ruined your reputation, unraveled your mental and emotional progress and now threaten you with financial ruin, all for an accident that the police already determined wasn't your fault.
But even this gets taken out of context by the family's lawyers who want to torture you further. They feed a story about how you're suing the victims you killed, as if that's all anyone needs to know. On Reddit, they've rushed to judge you a psychopath, a worthless piece of garbage.

But really, you just wish it had been you who died that night. You don't want this lawsuit, but you do want this nightmare to end. It won't though. The nightmare of running over three kids will replay in your mind for the rest of your life.
Apr 4, 2012 Washington Outsider commented on Savage Love Episode 285.
Best chick flick to get over a break up: Silence of the Lambs. All men are evil and most women are badasses taking them out or escaping their evil clutches.
Jan 4, 2011 Washington Outsider commented on Bore Me, Michael Cera.
PR person here - I know, I'll duck the rotten tomatoes.

I empathize. I have a similar rant about mommy bloggers and one client or another at least once a month. Still, I'm not in the celebrity business (thank god) so it's rare for me to field that kind of attention.

I take some issue with a few of your points, but I agree the system is broken. These publicists sound terrible.

That said:

-There are PR people (like, ahem, me) who have never pitched The Stranger because we know we have nothing newsworthy for this audience. You just never get to meet us because we're so darn polite and busy pitching some paper much more suited for our clients.
-Anna Kendrick was probably contractually obligated to publicize the movie way before her part was even filmed/edited.
-Scheduling 30249534523409098 interviews in one day when you have a hotel room reserved for four hours (and 15 minutes of set-up) is not ideal for ANY publicity team.
-Particularly since, as you pointed out, reporters typically ask the same questions to death.
-The bass was undoubtedly there for the one random reporter from Topeka yelling "I need B-roll of something!!"

Related: The other thing is that if the celebrities go off script - I know this is a shocker - many of 'em are kind of doofuses:




Sadly, it's just safer to give them a script (and many people feel more comfortable with one - they're actors, after all).

tl;dr Our job is to help you get the best story you can. Sucks that didn't work with these guys - please don't paint all of us with the same brush.
Nov 23, 2010 Washington Outsider commented on Hey, Gamers....
I'd join if I hadn't quit cold turkey. That stuff will rot your social life.

Still, I'm tempted:
Tech savvy at risk youth?
Mar 10, 2010 Washington Outsider commented on Too Early For Interior Design? Currently Hanging: Cremaster of the Universe.
Waiting for Loveschild's reaction...
Dec 21, 2009 Washington Outsider commented on Youth Pastor Watch: It's Important For a Married Couple To Share Common Interests.
Can I just mention that I was very hesitant to click on the last link in this post? I know the sentence didn't intend to imply that there was a link to the photos, but still... I try to avoid child pornography if I can.
Nov 17, 2009 Washington Outsider commented on Feeling Sorry for Carrie Prejean.
Regarding the sexism argument:

Is it sexism to pity a woman for their naivete when they're publicly ridiculed? Most of us had the same reaction to Monica Lewinsky; we ridiculed her and pitied her at the same time. Or Anna Nicole Smith (nod to you, @ScrewYouRusty). I know lots of people who pity Sarah Palin for "getting in over her head" - she clearly didn't anticipate the negative consequences of anything she said.

We don't seem to have the same reaction to Levi - and isn't he doing the exact same thing to his future as Carrie Prejean? Did we ever feel sorry for Joe the Plumber after he jumped in the spotlight at the first opportunity? Is it because we think male idiots will be able to recover without the same stigma, or because we give them more responsibility for being public jackasses in the first place?

I don't have any answers, would love responses. And, for the record, this is said by someone who would absolutely, absolutely love a Palin/Prejean ticket in 2012. It would be the most hilarious election cycle ever. My philosophy is that if you're gonna be dumb, you've gotta be tough.
Sep 4, 2009 Washington Outsider commented on Re: Whose Beard Is Better?.
I'm kind of happy Grant got second place - I prefer men with their spirits already broken.
Jul 7, 2009 Washington Outsider commented on Today in New Zealand Advertisements.
I miss New Zealand.