Fatal Distraction by Gene Weingarten

From time to time, I read something so inspired, brilliant and motivating that it cleanly captures the honest, clean exposition to which I aspire.

The latest piece is by Gene Weingarten on behalf of The Washington Post. It’s an 8,500 word story portraying those affected by infant hyperthermia; those parents who accidentally leave their children to die in hot cars. It is a harrowing work of staggering journalistic resourcefulness.

It begins:

The defendant was an immense man, well over 300 pounds, but in the gravity of his sorrow and shame he seemed larger still. He hunched forward in the sturdy wooden armchair that barely contained him, sobbing softly into tissue after tissue, a leg bouncing nervously under the table. In the first pew of spectators sat his wife, looking stricken, absently twisting her wedding band. The room was a sepulcher. Witnesses spoke softly of events so painful that many lost their composure. When a hospital emergency room nurse described how the defendant had behaved after the police first brought him in, she wept. He was virtually catatonic, she remembered, his eyes shut tight, rocking back and forth, locked away in some unfathomable private torment. He would not speak at all for the longest time, not until the nurse sank down beside him and held his hand. It was only then that the patient began to open up, and what he said was that he didn’t want any sedation, that he didn’t deserve a respite from pain, that he wanted to feel it all, and then to die.

Full article here.

Many thanks to Kathleen Noonan for her tip in the Saturday Courier-Mail‘s ETC liftout. Maybe I should seek out newspapers more often.

Leave a reply.