DENYING IGNORANCE BECAUSE OTHERS WOULDN'T
When I first read the story on the Holley family's outrage that the body of their dead son was being shipped unceremoniously to them as freight, I
too was outraged. The indignity that represented was more than I could believe, and immediately thought of ATSNN as the appropriate platform to make
more public this insensitive move by our own government. I naively believed that others at ATS would share a similar outrage in response to the story.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
When I posted this article for submission to ATSNN on December 10, at 09:29, within three minutes, it received its first NO for BIAS
submission contained two simple factual statements:
A San Diego news station is reporting that the military is returning fallen soldiers via freight on commercial airliners. When questioned about the
practice, a Defense Department representative said she did not know the reason why that was happening.
Fair enough, I thought, somebody voted no because they didn't really like the subject matter
of the article. To some degree, I expected as
much and decided to ignore it...
Eight minutes later, I received a Fix Introduction
vote. I knew the typical convention for ATSNN articles was to have three sentences...mine
contained two. Upon consideration, I recalled that I had seen other articles on ATSNN with just two sentences, and because the source article was so
short, decided to leave my submission in its original state.
Fourteen minutes later, I received a NO for Writing
vote. Granted, these two sentences were not the most sophisticated sentences I have ever
written, but what else was there really to say? They were grammatically correct and contained no spelling errors. Moreover, again, the source article
was so short, I didn't think it appropriate to essentially duplicate it.
I let it ride...
Thirty-one minutes later, I received a NO: Not Right
vote, and twelve minutes after that, I received another NO: Not Right
Now, I knew the article was in trouble. How something like the subject matter of this article could not be right for ATSNN was beyond me...
In the next eight hours, I received two more NO: Not Right
votes. Then by the next morning, I received an additional four NO: Not Right
votes and one more NO for BIAS
The article was dead.
The simple facts indicated in the source article were as follows:
Parents (both of whom were prior military) objected that their son would be sent as freight. No American flag. No color guard. And it took the
intervention of their Senator to make things right.
In the developing thread, some posters objected to the relevance of the article as news. Some argued that the story itself was a misrepresentation of
"how it is done" and claimed it to be a form of politically motivated deceit.
Some asserted personal knowledge and experience of the correct protocol, arguing that the parents were wrong in their expectations. Many responses
became sarcastic on this basis alone:
"how could they be shipped - 1st class ????"
"I'm thinking propping them up in a seat or filling the aisles with coffins would probably willy a few passengers out."
"Maybe they should fly every coffin home in its own personal jet."
"It's whining and over-reacting"
"I don't see why an issue is being made of this now except for the media wanting to do anything that they can to cause a controversy."
"should they have a parade?"
Many argued that their version of the facts trumped what the parents were claiming.
Many argued that logistically, it was unreasonable to expect a color guard...that it would be too disruptive to airport operations...
Many personally attacked me, including one who called me a soldier hater and another who argued that I was using the story for my own political
Then by the 50th post, I was able to retrieve written and photographic evidence that fallen soldiers were in fact greeted by color guards...at
commercial airports..at the body's final destination...
But that was not enough...for the most part the denial, the assertions contrary to the parent's representations, the sarcasm, and the personal
When I had initially posted the article, I did so because I deeply sympathized with the pain of those parents. I didn't think it right that our
government would ask for so much and literally return so little. It angered me that these parents represented that they got what their son deserved,
because they were prior military and knew they had that right to demand it- but that other civilian
parents would not fare as well...
The mere fact that a Pentagon spokeswoman said that she did not know why that was happening was indication enough for me that something had changed in
the government's policy. In my view, that had to be exposed...
And what better place to do it than ATS? ...or so I thought...
I emailed the senator's office and television station in an attempt to obtain more information...but no response came...of course it's only been two
days, but I wanted a response immediately to backup up the claims of these outraged parents...
I researched the web... came across this memorial site of their son,
Matthew...read the responses from friends who knew him...the photos...
And the negativity in this thread continued...
And...that...is...when...I gave...it up.
This was becoming toxic to me.
I made a deal with myself that I would not visit this thread again...and didn't...until this happened:
You can listen to the interview
Hannity & Colmes
Guests and Topics: December 13
...Then, a mother and a father whose son died in Iraq tell us of their anguish as their son's body is shipped home on a commercial airliner and
ADMIN EDIT - Link to illicit podcast REMOVED
"That's disgraceful, it should have never happened..." -- Sean Hannity
...and it's unfortunate that so many felt the story inappropriate for ATSNN. The irony, of course, is that FOX chose otherwise...
I love ATS, and will continue to support ATS...I just wish more of it's members would have supported the Holley's.
[edit on 14-12-2005 by loam]
[edit on 12-14-2005 by Springer]