Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Mother was Mugged

There's no end to the drama in our lives right now. You read the blog title right, the Mother was mugged.

While walking home from church in broad daylight, two teenage boys attempted to snatch the Mother's purse. This was on the busiest street in a very large northern Illinois city. She grabbed the purse back and asked, "What are you doing?"

She said that she simply couldn't believe what was happening. The teen grabbed her purse a second time.

"Stop that!" she said.

When she grabbed the purse back the second time the would-be purse snatcher fell to the ground, at which point the Mother proceeded to whack him a few times with the handbag.

It all sounds so funny and uplifting, granny fights off purse snatchers. But you and I know that if these perpetrators had possessed weapons the outcome could have been different. The police said she was very lucky. At 1:30 a.m. the next morning a teen was shot and killed nearby.

What happened next has my family and I saddened and disappointed. It seems the local TV station visited the retirement home where the Mother lives, intent on doing a story about a senior citizen party being hosted in the building. Residents talked to the news crew, identifying the Mother as the victim that had been reported on the evening news.

No longer was the Mother anonymous and the TV reporter thought it would be a terrific story for the nightly news. Really? They approached her as asked for an interview. The Mother enthusiastically agreed. Really?

The Mother didn't dare tell my sister or myself because I think she knew what our respose would be. The news reached my sister through the grapevine and she had a discussion with the Mother, advising her NOT to put her face out there and what the implications of doing such an interview might be.

Never mind, the Mother had her chance at 15 minutes of fame and against our wishes she did the interview. I called the news director at the TV station and asked him if he was aware that the Mother has dementia and is not in a position to make good decisions in matter such as this. Five minutes later the reporter called me and we discussed the situation. I did not demand that they kill the story (I should have) but I asked them to consider all the implications. I remind them that they could cover the story without revealing and exposing the victim.

They ran the story on the evening news. The response was overwhelming and they called the Mother to do a second interview. She agreed.

It seems that 15 minutes of fame is a tantalizing siren's song. The Mother does the second interview without our knowledge and this is where things get strange.

Before day's end the Mother's granddaughter in Australia has seen the interview which was linked on Facebook. News organizations across the country have picked up the video and run it on their news programs. It's gone viral on You Tube.

Wow, what a wonderful, connected, linked, instantaneous society we live in. I'm being facetious of course. The news people at the local station have gotten what they wanted, a "funny" story about a grandmother beating off a would-be attacker. They got ratings and national attention.

And the Mother? She got her 15 minutes of fame and is riding on the rush of attention. The problem is that 15 minutes is over pretty quickly and we know what's on the other side. We've watched for years as she's struggled with the loss of memory and the agitation and anxiety that it brings. Will some criminal element remember her face and where she lives and retaliate? Probably not, but the emotional and psychological fallout on the other side of this is going to be hug.

I feel like the Mother was victimized twice, once by the teenagers and again by the news crew.

And no, I will not be linking to the video.


shortoldlady said...

First and foremost - the mother is okay! It's a sad commentary on today's world when someone is attacked on a busy street - and no one "saw anything?" And SHAME on the news media for capitalizing on the story.

Thirkellgirl said...

That's terrible. Shame on them. I'm sorry. Life is kind of piling on you at the moment. My father-in-law has been in the hospital with a broken hip for two weeks and what appeared to be hospital-dementia is clearly something more and longer-lasting. Decisions to be made.

Mary Rex said...

I'm with you, Suzanne. I live with my 87 year old mom, and can see her doing the same thing. I am glad the mother is OK, and had the gumption to stand up to the creeps. Shame on the news media for using her for a scoop!

I see my own mom giving out info over the phone to 'surveys', and watch as she opens the door to strangers of the non-Girl Scout variety who are selling windows, doors alarm systems, etc. No matter how many times I tell her not to. She gets upset that I do not trust anyone.

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Wow, I can't imagine how frustrated you must feel. I can't believe the news people didn't heed your wishes. Pretty shameful all around, I think.


Tess said...

My grandmother carried a jar of Ponds cold cream in her handbag just for this reason. Glad the Mother is okay.


Vee said...

Oh I am so sorry. What a thing to have happen. And this is a concern of ours all the time when we see similar stories on tv. Now I wonder if you had mentioned "law suit" if you and your sister would have to be concerned. The media is not very responsible and seldom do they care about the repercussions.

Susan said...

I am so sorry this happen and the media took advantage of it. All for the big buck, isn't it? Hope both mothers are doing better. This too shall pass.

Leslie T. said...

Wow, I'm so sorry that this happened and that the media cashed in on it. I'm glad that she wasn't harmed, but I do agree with you that it's not a good thing to have her face splashed all over the place, and it does carry reasons to worry.
You sure do have your hands full these days! This must be extremely stressful!

LDF said...

That is frightening! Both the attempted mugging AND the media! I work for a community organization that provides support services for seniors, and we are constantly approached with media requests to 'find us a senior to show ... (fill in the blank) ... ' Infuriates me! They totally forget that our elders are REAL PEOPLE! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr said...

Glad the mother didn't get hurt by mugger, sorry that press feels need to exploit her and hope things settle down for your entire family soon! Peace, Donna

At Home in English Valley said...

Suzanne, Just read your last couple of posts...there is a special place in heaven for caregivers. So very sorry for all you're dealing with, and it's sad that your Mother was victimized twice. Take care of yourself my friend. Love, Penny

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way as the others, the more I read and hear of things on the news and in papers, the less I really believe. because we get to hear what they want us to hear and it makes me wonder how much is true from the media.
So glad she is ok and sure hope the other mother is doing well also.