By Scott Ballard District Attorney
February 9, 2014
As I write, the national media is having a field day with Atlanta. Reporters are amazed that we could become so paralyzed by snow—Yankees manage it all the time.
They express sympathy as they show footage of thousands of cars parked on the interstates, stranded there for hours. But, somehow I suspect that they chuckle at commercial breaks.
This was no laughing matter. People abandoned their cars and walked to find food and shelter. Others spent the night in their cars—right there on the interstate. Thousands of them.
There were plenty of goof-ups and finding someone to blame is an easy game.
But, what jumped out at me was the way Americans did what Americans always do. They helped.
God bless the teachers and principals that stayed at school all night with stranded children. Chick-fil-a offered free food to motorists stuck in the longest commute of their lifetimes. School bus drivers, unable to move, stayed in their buses with schoolchildren and together they braved temperatures in the teens and a night with no food, blankets, bathrooms or water. I heard that one teacher spent the night at school with fifteen autistic children.
I saw one principal on the news. He had nearly one hundred children to care for that night. He didn’t whine. He didn’t blame anybody. He didn’t discuss how badly he wanted to go home or how miserable he no doubt was. He simply reported that the children were safe and having an adventure. He mentioned that this was a learning experience. I found his caring professionalism deeply touching.
State patrol officers helped. So did the National Guard.
My family and I were safe at home. I hope you fared as well as we did.
As I sat in front of the TV—what else could I do?—I couldn’t help but notice that mobs in another country were rioting and throwing rocks. Why do they always throw rocks? In another story an angry New York Congressman cussed out a reporter and threatened him.
Meanwhile, Georgians were helping each other. Georgians were calling radio stations, exhibiting amazing good cheer, requesting their favorite songs as they endured a brutal night on I-75.
I’m sure people were angry. They had a right to be. But, years from now, I won’t remember that.
What I will always remember is the goodness. Good citizens doing good things, enduring hardship, revealing strong character and setting an example for others to follow.