After some articles are 'put to bed' at FilterBlogs they get a "Posthumous Long tail Aperitif" (PHLA); links to related articles published after my original post.
PHLA for May 17, 2010: Tonight, I watched the PBS presentation of "Independent Lens" in which they broadcast the documentary, "THE HORSE BOY".
The description under the trailer in Youtube reads in part,"ZeitgeistFilms How far would you travel to heal someone you love? An intensely personal yet epic spiritual journey, The Horse Boy follows one Texas couple and their autistic son as they trek on horseback through Outer Mongolia in a desperate attempt to treat his condition with shamanic healing. When two-year-old Rowan was diagnosed with autism, Rupert Isaacson, a writer and former horse trainer, and his wife Kristin Neff, a psychology professor, sought the best possible medical care for their son—but traditional therapies had little effect. Then they discovered that Rowan has a profound affinity for animals—particularly horses—and the family set off on a quest for a possible cure."
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I wrote this piece on December 7, 2009, the day rescuers found James. I decided to with-hold it until the next day because it's quite hard hitting, and I thought it would be disrespectful to publish while James Delorey's life hung in the balance. Sadly the news the next morning was of his passing rather than his recovery - as such I decided to hold the piece until after the funeral, plus one day.
A funeral for James Delorey was held on Monday December 14th at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Whitney Pier. Chance the heroic dog, was in attendance. Chris Shannon of the Cape Breton Post was there.
James Delorey is survived by his bother Jessie, his mother Veronica Fraser, and his father Jason Delorey. My sincere condolences to the family, their friends and all James's class-mates and teachers.
Monday, December 7, 2009:
(My take on what autism is may be different from the opinions of some doctors and some parents of autistic children.
I believe autistic children are far smarter than we realize and are coping with our neurotic, hypocritical culture as best they can; which is not well. The dominant culture unconsciously "pulls back" those who go too far out in front. The brilliance of these children causes them to create thinking structures that are different, and at odds with the general perception of things - these delicate constructs are destroyed by the dominant culture's 'normal' ways of thinking. In some cases these exceptional children cope by turning 'off' the irreconcilable data streams. Some choose to leave aside what seems to them to be unimportant skills - like talking - until later.
My take on the intelligence and consciousness of dogs may also differ from many - as you will see...)
I woke this morning to the CBC radio news report that the Delorey family dog had returned home. Like everyone, I hoped it meant the boy was still alive, and that the dog would lead searchers back to the boy who had been missing since Saturday the 5th of December. I was elated when it was announced at a news conference at 4:00 PM that the boy had been found.
As I researched the story all that day I was appalled by the lack of understanding of dogs and autism by those reporting the story and the seeming lack of 'bush smarts' evidenced by actions of the juggernaut of rescue experts.
The phrase "..the boy followed his dog into the woods..." is repeated in many pieces published about this story - it's imagery from the Brothers Grimm fairy-tale, Hansel and Gretel. It is repeated without comment from a Canadian Press piece in which the idea first appeares. It implies that the seven year old James Delorey - who has been diagnosed autistic - must therefore be a moron, and that he blindly follows his 'mixed breed' dog wherever he wanders.
Like a boy and his dog have never before gone exploring in the woods.
Nancy King, writing for the The Cape Breton Post, leaves the offensive idea to the bottom of her take. CBC Nova Scotia also deemphasized the imagery. All the other papers I've read don't have budgets for actual reporting, they simply republished the Canadian Press piece or have so-called writers
James Delorey's is not a moron, he's a boy who watches Sesame Street - a childrens' show that helped educate several very smart generations - and who's favourite music is U2 - a band that uses complex counter point and overtones in it's compositions - qualities that many 'normal' kids in this low-quality-mp3-generation can't hear.
This boy is as normal as any other seven year old except the fact he has chosen not to speak, and with all the human stupidity around this story, the kids' decision seems smarter and smarter at every turn.
Reporting for the The Cape Breton Post, Nancy King writes,
"After Delorey was found, it took about 90 minutes to transport him 400 metres through heavy brush to where a LifeFlight helicopter was able to touch down. It’s believed he was unconscious when he was found."
The boy was found 1.3 kilometres from his home, just off a trail leading directly to his back yard. The "safety" bureaucracy decided to bring stretcher loads of equipment and a dozen experts into dense bush. Next the 'experts' decided to transport the boy through dense bush to a helicopter landing spot 400 metres away. It took them four hours to get the boy through that bush - over very dangerous ground to carry someone on a stretcher.
From the CBC Nova Scotia piece titled, " Rescuers Fly Cape Breton Boy to Hospital":
"Nearly four hours after being discovered, the boy was airlifted to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. With the paramedics doing their job and getting the 400 metres to where the chopper landed, it took an extreme amount of time and a lot of effort on their part to extract him from the area he was located," said Const. Kenny Routledge."
If they'd carried him out along the trail the boy had walked in on, they could have gotten him to a warm house in thirty minutes. He'd have been warming with his family while the bureaucrats met to decide whether to ask his parents if they wanted him transported to the local hospital 11 km away or by helicopter to Halifax, 310 km away.
Anyone who grew up in a rural area knows this stupid bunch of city slicker rescuers probably added more than three hours to the boy's time in the cold with their politically correct nincompoop bumbling.
Michael MacDonald for Canadian Press wrote:
"His dog, a mixed-breed named Chance, had emerged from the marshy forest north of Sydney about two hours earlier, spurring searchers to redouble their efforts to find the little boy." What that REALLY means is '..spurring searchers to follow the dogs tracks back to the boy'. But of coarse it can't be so simple; they had to call in a professional tracker to follow the dogs path, prints of a dog they had on hand.
As well it didn't occur to organizers that they simply had find one 'dog person' in the whole buffoonery of know-it-alls - or perhaps the boys mother or father - and have the animal lead them to the spot where the the good dog had left his best friend to go find help.
Nancy King writes, "In all, nine search-and-rescue teams from across the province contributed to the rescue effort, as well as hundreds of volunteers."
Common sense is common in South Bar Nova Scotia I'll bet, but it looks as though the safety infrastructure couldn't harness it, instead they lead like Kings, and covered their mistakes by calling in the next level of bureaucratic buck passers.
Tera Camus, Sherri Borden Colley and Laura Fraser Staff Reporters for The ChronicleHerald.ca wrote:
"The community has rallied in support of James and his dog, turning out in the hundreds to search. More than 26,000 people joined the Facebook group "Bring 7 year old James Delorey home safe!!", leaving messages of hope for his family and volunteers."
In the comment section of the CBC Nova Scotia story, "KevinBrown2009" wrote in response to another readers take:
(Posted 2009/12/08 at 1:57 AM ET)
"Thinking maybe the dog knew it was time to get help."
"ABSOLUTELY! Dogs KNOW when things are not right and the are VERY protective of children. I saw a News report tonight that said the dog always followed the boy around even though the boy was not particularly fond of the dog. Obviously the dog has STRONG protective instincts (as most do). It kept the boy warm until it realized that the boy was in trouble. At that time I have no doubt the dog decided to go get help which lead to the rescue of the boy. Dogs truly are mans best friend!"
James Delorey is recovering at the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre in Halifax Nova Scotia.
FilterBlogs UPDATE: 10:15 AM DEC. 8, 2009
James Delorey passed away "..due to injuries he suffered during his time in the woods." CBC Radio reported in it's 10:00 AM ET Tuesday December 8, 2009 national news broadcast quoting a statement released at a news conference at the IWK Health Centre.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
CBC Nova Scotia did a nice follow-up piece on how the community was coping with the roller coaster of emotions that the town and the whole country experienced. James' school mates wrote letters of condolences to the Delorey family, part of a way of coping with the tragedy.
School consoler Tina Kennedy-Lohnes said,
"They're gone up and they're gone way down with this whole event and it's really bothered them. And having a vehicle to write about it and actually do something is therapeutic and it just gives them hope they have actually done something."
Later in the same story:
"We felt sad about James so we wrote a letter saying that we are sorry that one of your schoolmates passed away," explained student Nathan Harris. "We were praying that he will live and I was happy when they found him, but then I was sad when he died."
I agree with what Nathan said, and my writing reflects that - but I felt I had some important things to say about the way this story was reported and more importantly about the way rescue officials conducted the operation.