Sunday, December 27, 2015

This Day

I spent part of today checking on a stranger on a local Face Book page.
What that means is, a local resident had posted on a local residents only page about a situation he found strange.  He spotted a pickup truck parked in a local wilderness area used by off-road enthusiasts.  It was there for too many hours, untouched and left in a way that suggested someone had not planned to be gone so long.  He posted a photograph and details about the site that gave him the idea something was amiss.  He asked people to 'share' this on social media (FB) to try and find the family or someone who knew the owner of the truck.

On and off throughout the day, in between doing other things I checked on these posts, hoping for a good outcome, but having a bad feeling.  This truck had been seen 11 days ago and reported to sheriffs who did noting at the time.  It seems if there is no official Missing Persons report filed by a family member, they cannot do anything.  He was estranged from his family.  He was out there off-roading alone.  He was alone.

Through the day the post was shared on other local resident only sites.  Hundreds of comments were made.  I was only a reader of them most of the day.  I was waiting for word.  The original poster managed to gather other men to go looking on their ATV's.  Folks notified the sheriffs again and finally due to all of this conversation and pressure, a search was begun.  It has been cold here at night, for us anyway.  Down into the 40's.  There was a lot of concern.  Where was he?  His abandoned truck held his presumed diabetic medication.  Mr. Original Poster worked hard to get the ball rolling and stringing together many clues.

As the day progressed and the comment threads got longer and longer, more and more became known about the truck owner.  His name, address and the fact that he had a suspended license.  Someone found his police record and posted that too.  It seemed he'd had some run-ins with the law, DUIs and the like.  Suddenly he was a 'felon' and could be 'armed and dangerous'.  He could be hiding out from a warrant.  Lots of speculations and warnings to be safe if you go out to search.  This parade of his personal information and history made me so uncomfortable, even if I could understand the concern for safety when the possibility of guns existed.  Especially these days.  Even those trying to help gave away so much of his information.  It just didn't sit right with me.  But, I just kept on hoping for the best.

Finally, law enforcement was out there, not really wanting the public help.  Doing what perhaps they should have done days ago.  Who knows.  Not me.  I was left to wonder about red tape and protocol.  I was left to wonder about how one ends up so alone, with so few friends and completely estranged from their own family that even when they are made aware of the situation, they still opt not to file a missing person report.  How does one's life go so far astray?  I was left to wonder about how there can be such an apparent split among community members, with some so ready to help and some so ready to rush to judgement.

Late this evening, after dark, a local couple who had gone out there to help search found him and his off-road vehicle at the bottom of a ravine.   And law enforcement made their announcement of their job well done.

How long was he there before one man decided something did not look right and something needed to be done?  And everyone, those who had shared the posts or gone to search, those who offered to bring out coffee or food for those searching to those shouting out warnings trying to keep others safe, to those angry with local law enforcement to those trying to explain their procedures and those upset with his family...everyone ended the night broken-hearted for another human being, for a life lost in a cold canyon on a windy night.  Because really no matter how that life was lived, no one thought he deserved to die like this.

It was then that I added my voice to the others.  I've changed the names to XXX's to protect identities.  This is what I had to say and then I lit yet another candle.

"XXX XXX Thank You for sounding the alarm and gathering together so many folks and resources to locate this man based only on your correct assumption that something was not quite right and that another fellow human being was at risk. It was your initial knocking of the first domino that put everything into action. Because of that XXX XXX has not passed alone. He instead was surrounded by a whole community of caring individuals. And while those who put out calls to be prudent, to be safe had the best interests of all at heart, may we remember that in this new age of social media, it can be a tool for goodness and support or a rush to judgement, without all of the facts well-known or in place. Let us then speak up for our neighbors, care for our neighbors...but use caution with our words and actions. Kindness and Love will leave a lasting legacy. Thank you again XXX."


Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2015


yvette said...

Nancy, what a good decision to mingle in discussion with your words at that time and lit a candle!

Seeing how gossip is so quick, frightening!

Ot after the silly season your package will be sent at last.......

Lynda Merry said...

Nancy, thank you for sharing this story so beautifully.

Nancy said...

Yvette~ Yes, but the good outweighed the bad, truly. I have that same plan for one that has been waiting forever to be sent! Thanks, I'll keep a look out!

Lynda~ Thank you for reading. It is nice to see you here :)

Ms. said...

So, this is what social media might do.....CARE!
I shed a tear for the stranger who died alone, and admiration for the community that gathered in concern. Blessed be the lost and lonely. Blessed be all those who care.

Velma Bolyard said...

nancy, good thinking, and very well written. aren't we people full of strangeness?

Dana said...

Thank you for this compelling story and the thoughtfulness of your response. It lays groundwork for the next time someone notices things amiss and provokes sadness for the alienation of this man and so many others.

handstories said...

Compelling, troubling and touching. Thank you for sharing this story, & for the reminder to take care- in deed, and thought, & of each other. xo

Anonymous said...

there are so many ways to fall through the cracks, it is so very sad. your story is moving for so many reasons, not the least of which is that you tell it from your open-hearted stance... sorry about the goings on and their disturbing power, but thank you for sharing here.

jude said...

the telling, of the story, so much like a candle.

Peggy said...

Nancy, I don't even know what to say except thank you. xoxo

Nancy said...

Michelle~ Yes, sometimes it works :)

Velma~ Thank you and yes, a strangeness and goodness too.

Dana~ We need to be on the look out for one another, don't you think?

Cindy~ Yes, a bit of everything. And in 'words'...take care in our words too. xo back.

Dee~ You're welcome, thanks for reading here. Sometimes there are just too many cracks I think.

Jude~ Hopefully in a good way, as in shedding some light...not as in goes on and on and on (this candle burns for over 24 hr!!)

Peggy~ You are most welcome. xo friend.