This Story Is Missing Something… September 24, 2008

This Story Is Missing Something…

It’s a really disturbing story… a little girl was playing with a rope in the back seat of her mother’s car while coming home from soccer practice. The rope, hanging out the window, got caught in the car’s axle… The girl’s hand was taken right off.

Her mother, Allison Rix, was on the Today show talking about the tragedy.

Take note of the article discussing the event:

Thus the surgeons had to reconnect minuscule veins and arteries to reestablish blood supply to the hand. When they were done, they put the arm in a heavily padded cast, warning Erica that even a hard bump could jeopardize the healing process.

On Tuesday, blond, pigtailed Erica was all smiles, playing with stuffed animals with her right hand while her mom talked about the injury. Erica still has no feeling in the hand, and further surgery will be necessary to reattach nerves and tendons. Doctors say that she probably won’t regain full use of her hand, but because she’s young and adaptable, she should regain substantial function.

The experience has renewed Rix’s faith in people.

Since the accident, total strangers have donated money to help defray her medical expenses. Others have volunteered to help keep a 24-hour watch on Erica to make sure she doesn’t damage her hand. The firemen who came to her rescue visited her at home and let her sit in the fire truck.

“I can’t thank them enough,” Rix said. “I’m so grateful for everything that everybody did.

“We hear about all the negatives, but people out there are good. They want to help.”

Did you notice anything missing from all that?

All this tragedy followed by recovery… and no mention of God.

The mother was thanking the doctors who fixed her daughter’s hand and strangers who were donating money and firemen who came to her daughter’s aid.

Just as it should be.

The mother does refer to those people as her “angels” but only metaphorically. And she says she did pray for her daughter’s life, but again, the praise was saved for the real heroes. Not a god.

I’m not hoping for more tragedies like this to occur, but when they do, I would hope these stories become more commonplace.

(Thanks to Melissa for the link!)

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  • Jason

    The first thing I thought was, “why was her mom letting her dangle a jump rope out the window?”

    Maybe mom didn’t know she was doing it, maybe she did.

    I’d say it’s 50/50 this is mom’s fault.

  • Scott

    Why does blame need to be assigned? It was a horrible accident, leave it at that.

  • SarahH

    Whoa! I think most moms do the best they can for their kids, but they can’t stop them from being kids. Now and then someone get salmonella from raw eggs, but that never stopped my siblings and I from sneaking cookie dough.

    Thanks, Hemant, for posting this. It’s incredibly refreshing, not only to hear about the amazing skill of the surgeons who get better all the time at repairing the human body, but also the generosity and good will of neighbors and strangers when tragedy strikes. The people who deserve the admiration and credit for helping this little girl are getting it, and that needs to be the case more often. Humanity needs to have more faith in itself when it comes to dealing with our mortality and suffering, and this certainly increases my faith in us.

  • swizzlenuts

    Yeah, an uplifting message without God, is a great way to start the morning! The whole passage I was waiting for the place where she gives credit to God.

    I wonder how many people on the outside will give credit to God though.

  • Spancy

    I just want to say this is dissappointing. Does it matter about religion in this context? It’s like saying, “you just got sick right? god did that.”

    I can understand how religious people feel the need to throw their beliefs in peoples faces, but honestly, i appreciate athiest people so much more because they do not throw preferences and opinions in my face.

    i know i know, I don’t have to read the website, but i’m just.. throwing it out there..

  • SarahH

    Spancy – I don’t think anything is being thrown in anyone’s face. Hemant’s point, the way I read this post, is that it’s refreshing that there’s an absence of anything being thrown in anyone’s face and all the right faces are being given credit, lol.

    The article is notable because the vast majority of such news stories are accompanied by some pastor or relative or even the victim attributing survival (and any other good that comes of the event) to God, when a host of kind and skilled human beings are really the ones responsible. It’s just refreshing to see an exception to that. Nowhere in the article does the author or the people quoted mention religion or God in a negative way or atheism in a positive way, it’s all just left completely out of the picture.

  • Hmm… why am I slightly offended by your remark?

    …and no mention of God…
    Just as it should be.

    Why should it be that way? If she had mentioned God along with the people who were involved, would that have made the story less worthy in your eyes?

  • @Linda
    What part do you suppose god would like thanks for?

    The part where the hand was removed?

    Maybe we should thank him for giving those folks the opportunity to reposond?

    The part where he used these people to remind us how fragile life is?

    What part did god play?

    THat’s the problem with god being anywhere in the story.

  • Polly

    The experience has renewed Rix’s faith in people.

    I cringed right up to the last word, then I relaxed a little. Then I was quite satisfied once I got to the end.

    Finally, credit went only to where it was due.

  • jedipunk,

    My question was not about God at all. Do not assume my intention. Because, as they say, ASSUME makes an ASS of U and ME.

  • SnugglyBuffalo

    It’s not so much assuming your intentions as it is inferring them. When you get offended that someone said thanks shouldn’t be given to God, but to the people who actually acted, what are we supposed to think your intentions are?

  • Actually I don’t feel that the story is missing something at all. It has a sad event, a rescue and a happy ending. Not every story needs a dragon to slay.

  • “I didn’t think it even was a possibility,” Rix said of saving her daughter’s hand. “I just kept praying for my daughter’s life at this point.”

    Uh? You’ve got to read the whole thing?

    An absence of a display of religiosity is quite common in many people who are religious, especially those Christians who follow what Jesus said about not making such a display.

    Using this kind of thing this way isn’t particularly commendable.

  • @Linda

    Why should it be that way? If she had mentioned God along with the people who were involved, would that have made the story less worthy in your eyes?

    How is that not about god?

    And I was not questioning your intention. I simply want to know what part of the tragedy should be the part where we mention god.

  • I simply want to know what part of the tragedy should be the part where we mention god.

    Beats the heck out of me! I didn’t say that we should mention God. I just felt that Hemant’s comment seemed a little patronizing. Using the word “should” in this case sounded somewhat judgmental to me.

    My question was intended to examine the mindset that would criticize a person (in this case, the mother) if they wanted to thank God for something good that happened to them.

    And I was not questioning your intention.

    Maybe you “should” have. 😉

  • Randy

    I liked the fact that the “angels” were people that stopped to help and not supernatural faeries. So much talk these days of “guardian angels” and all.

  • Randy

    Thanking god would be a meaningless action. God didnt stop to help, god didn’t reattach the hand. I guess she should blame god also for her daughters injury. Trying to attribute human bravery and skill to a supernatural being cheapens the actions of those that actually did something.

  • Andre

    Just my humble opinion…

    I guess the problem most people (including myself) have with atributing good things to god, is that it implies that god helped you, but chose not to help the others in which the situation turned out the other way..

    Such as in a car accident, or fatal disease like cancer when someone attributes their success to god while forgetting about vast numbers of people, that would be just as worthy of some divine help, that don’t make it through the same situation…

    But I guess that’s all in god’s plan, right ? (as a religious person would quickly say after reading this post)

  • David D.G.

    Oh, great.

    Within minutes of my reading this fine post, I received an email from a fundie friend of mine who credits God for fixing her family’s current medical-bill crisis.

    She’s giving God the credit, instead of:

    * The people in the charitable organization that paid for her husband’s hospital bill when he had a heart attack. (Even if it is a religious charity, which it may well be, the point is that people contributed money to it, and people decided to award some of this money to them to help them out. God played no part in this whatsoever.)

    * The state agency that paid for her fancy impaired-vision equipment (an agency funded by their own taxes!).

    * The insurance company that paid for their daughter’s throat surgery and orthodontics (even though they paid for this insurance, and it’s just doing what it’s supposed to do!).


    I’m not even going to bother pointing out the stupidity of this to them; it would only upset them, not enlighten them. But I had to blow off a little steam here about it, and I may blog about it at slightly greater length. It’s just depressing.

    ~David D.G.

  • SarahH

    David D.G. – do you have a link to your blog? I’ve been reading more lately and I’m interesting in browsing yours, if you wouldn’t mind.

  • David D.G.

    Well, my “blog” is simply comments I make in the various blogging sections on my pages at such places as MySpace and Facebook. There are many more at the MySpace one, since I’ve had it longer; the URL is

    Thanks for taking an interest — I’m flattered!

    ~David D.G.

  • SarahH

    Oh, well, I kind of can’t stand MySpace due to formatting issues, so I don’t have an account and therefore can’t comment there (although I’m intrigued to find a Trekkie who likes all the non-Enterprise series with the exception of later season of DS9… those are the best seasons of any ST series, ever! You’re quite an anomaly).

    And I’m still closeted enough in certain ways to keep my facebook account completely separate from the rest of my online self. So I guess you’ll just have to start a real blog or join the forums 🙂 Otherwise, see you around the comments, and also: nice top hat!

  • I am actually surprized you find the no God mention such a noteworthy thing. So what?

  • Allison Rix

    To all of you who chose to bash me, shame on you. My daughter took this rope from school without me knowing. She rolled her window down one inch and dropped the rope. I was driving how was i supposed to know. Shame on you for judging a family that suffered a freak tragedy. If you only knew what we have gone through over the past two years maybe you would reconsider your nasty thoughts. Maybe you have eyes in the back of your head. If your child has ever fallen, had stitches, or broken a bone, shame on you. I guess I should blame you. To those that supported me, thank you. There really are good people out there. All you nasty bloggers go get a job and a life.

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