Friday, December 18, 2009

The Shellie Ross Twitter Controversy

This is some weird and deeply troubling pattern: It was just yesterday that I wrote about the death of Bengals wide-receiver Chris Henry, and the genuinely evil Twitter posts falsely reporting his death (it was Biodome10).

Now it turns out that Shellie Ross, whose 2 year-old son drowned on Monday, was tweeting at the time of the accident and sent a message just 19 minutes before her son's death: "Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool."

Now Ms. Ross is taking a lot of heat, and blame, for bad mothering, and even culpability in the boy's death. At USA Today, "Mom's tweet as son was dying stirs debate":
Ross' decision to broadcast that message Monday night to more than 5,300 people who follow her posts on Twitter has unleashed torrents of support and derision. Social networking experts and friends said Ross was right to reach out for help, while critics questioned whether her son would be alive if she spent less time online.

"Could this child's death have been averted had the mom not been on Twitter all day?" asked Madison McGraw, a personal security guard and writer who blogs at "This woman spent all of her time on Twitter. It was unbelievable," said McGraw, who lives outside of Philadelphia and doesn't know Ross.
Ross, 37, is also a blogger — — and a prolific poster on Twitter. She has two other sons, ages 18 and 11, and her husband is an Air Force sergeant.

She tweeted throughout Monday. At 5:22 p.m., she posted a message about the fog that rolled in as she worked in her chicken coop.

The emergency call to police came at 5:23 p.m., from Ross' 11-year-old son Kris, said Joe Martin, Brevard County homicide investigator. Ross and her son found Bryson at the bottom of the pool. While Kris was on the phone, Ross performed CPR on Bryson, Martin said.

Bryson was taken to Cape Canaveral Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6 p.m. Ross was notified at 6:31 p.m., Martin said. At 6:12 p.m. she posted to Twitter, asking for prayers.
Checking the Madison McGraw blog brings up, "Shellie Ross Continues to Twitter After Death of Son."
ABC News reports that Shellie Ross was tweeting about the fog rolling in and her chickens going back to the coop while 911 was called by her middle son @ 5:23 to report that his 2 year old brother was floating in the pool. Ambulance arrives at 5:38 to find child in cardiac arrest. At 6:12 pm Shellie tweeted and asked for prayers for her son. She had been tweeting from 8:37 in the morning, right on thru while her son fell into the pool, and continued to tweet even after his death - which I find ironic because maybe if she wasn't tweeting, her son might still be alive.

Shellie Ross's tweets on 12/14 during the hour her son died leading up to her Byrson Ross's death are as follows ...
Check the post for the tweets, and then:
After this tragedy, Shellie Ross has spoken and continued to Tweet, calling people assholes, hoping they rot in hell...but not once has she said, "I take full responsibility and I wish I could take that day back. I feel horrible and am so, so, sorry."

But then again, even if she did say that, I guess actions speak louder than words. And her actions leading up to and after her son's death speak volumes. She was twittering while her child died and she continues to Twitter, telling people to "Go Get Bent" and "Fuc* Tards."

If your child died because you were twittering, wouldn't that be the LAST place on earth you'd want to return to? If this was such a terrible time and you wanted people to 'leave you alone' why wouldn't you at least make your Twitter stream private?
I have no doubt it's only days before Ms. Ross appears for interviews and of course, people are already setting up donations.

I wish we could start a donation in Bryson Ross's name to sue his mother for negligence.

Why aren't people asking more questions about this? Do people not care about children and their safety at all? Who is looking out for children?
The ABC News story is here, "Mom Shellie Ross' Tweet About Son's Death Sparks Debate Over Use of Twitter During Tragedy: Mommy Bloggers Defend Ross' Tweet, Saying Online Community Is a Support System."

Ms. Ross has now protected her
tweets. She's got a blog post up, however: "Please allow us to grieve the loss of our child."

I'm just going to say a prayer for all involved. All of this crazy Twitter stuff is unreal.


Conor Friedersdorf blogged on this, at the Daily Dish no less, saying it's no big deal:

Isn't this just the latest example of people becoming insanely judgmental about a fellow citizen merely because she conceives of technology differently? It is unimaginable to me that people would react this way if Ms. Ross shouted over the back fence in the middle of the crisis to ask all in earshot to pray, and five hours later, still in shock, mechanically composed a letter to friends lamenting her loss.

But doing what amounts to the same thing on Twitter? It provokes vitriol that I find every bit as inexplicable as I do the Tweeting of a child's death. In this moment of utmost gravity, you're criticizing her approach to social media? "This woman is a perfect example of where humanity is heading as it becomes more enslaved by technology," one commenter said. In fact, the callousness strangers direct via Internet at a grieving mother is a far more dire harbinger of where we're headed.
Hmm. I wonder if he'd be saying the same thing if that was Trig Palin floating in the water? Somehow I doubt it.


repsac3 said...

If there's any indication that she wasn't paying enough attention to her children beforehand -- and from the stories I've read, it's all speculation having to do with the quantity of her tweets--mostly by other people who seem to spend a whole lotta time on the internet themselves--and little to nothing about whether or not she'd made arrangements for her child's care before doing any twittering, and had a reasonable expectation that her son would be safe -- I'd say put her on trial. But no one is offering any concrete evidence that her children were being neglected while she blogged or used twitter. It's all just guesses.

As for her tweets while her son was being treated and after he died, I think all the second-guessing & holier-than-thou, better-than crap is kinda malicious. Since when is it inappropriate to ask for prayers and good wishes when someone you love is undergoing life or death procedures in a hospital? Who really cares whether she tweeted or made phone calls to solicit those prayers, and what does it say about those who do? Those who can look at this tragedy, and attack a grieving mother for texting rather than dialing the phone & talking? Is this really the kind of people we want to be?

And Donald... Using this tragedy as a vehicle for a partisan attack on a blogger with which you don't agree? Really?

That's pretty cold.

Anonymous said...

Let's see.

Her husband is in the military and she asked for prayer.

How do I know already, even without reading another thing, just what is going to be said about her by the dark, dreary, dank leftard wing of the political spectrum.

repsac3 said...

Repsac3 tracked back with Shellie Ross, Twitter, and The 'Right' Way to Grieve.

(Head's up, anonymous, there's a response to your nonsense in there, too. You're welcome to reply at my blog, but you'll need to go to the trouble of actually making up a screen name if you wish to do so.)