I personally know (and still work alongside) many folks who worked diligently, professionally, and efficiently, at great risk in the first minutes of the response, to work this truly tragic crash.
They did it with a dedication that, unless you've done it before, you wouldn't ever understand. They risked not only their physical safety but their mental stability, too.
From the very second the first call came in, until the last juror submitted their vote and a judge rendered a verdict.
From each and every first responder and our HC911 telecommunicators who told them all where to go in those first chaotic, unbelievable and surreal seconds.
To the EMS and fire/rescue heroes, to the skilled men and women in our ERs, to those on the hospital floors who worked to save lives for days and weeks after the crash, to our friends in the media who covered the story with compassion, to those at the ME's Office, to the witnesses who came forward, to our District Attorney General's Office, and even the defense counselors.
This crash was worked righteously from the git-go, and all under our current law whether you happen to agree with the outcome of it all, or not. Every single entity did exactly what they were supposed to do and they all stayed in their respective lanes.
All that work was done solely for the loved ones of these lost, dear and precious children who wanted nothing more than to get to school that day. Turn in their homework. Do their school work, eat lunch with their friends, play at recess and then come home safe.
Too many didn't get to do that.
Looking at the photos taken by the media and LE, my heart absolutely broke when I saw a crushed lunchbox that someone had loving packed for a kid on that school bus.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, can ever replace these children to those who loved, and still love, these innocent kids who were lost, or injured, that day simply as a result of another person's carelessness.
The questions of, 'Who,' 'What,' 'When,' 'Where,' and 'How' were answered to a, 'T' subject to cross-examination, under oath.
The never-ending question of, 'Why' was never answered.
In my experience, it never will be.
I know it haunts them and I've worked many like these and they all (crashes involving 250+ deaths) still haunt me to this day.
When I was I college I learned about the five stages of death and dying (grief,) which was a study by Elisabeth Kubler Ross that has not been disputed, to date. (Read her book if you are struggling.)
They are tools to help us outline, frame and identify what we may be feeling when exposed to a tragedy, whether expected, or not. They are not linear steps and we may move back and forth along these steps before we get to # 5.
Anyone who has faced the loss of a loved one will recognize these steps. Anyone who has experienced, or witnessed; a fellow human being go through this, goes through the same process.
Today, the personal thoughts and prayers of me, and mine, go out to those who lost someone, for no reason, in this crash.
A someone who can never be replaced.
These thoughts and prayers go to those who are still dealing with injuries suffered in this crash and may still be working through Ross's stages.
Our collective thoughts and prayers also go out to the men and women, simple public safety workers, medical staff, criminal justice professionals, jurists and LE crash reconstructionists who worked this heinous crash from the start of the yaw, to now.
Some are still 'working it' in their heads.
Godspeed to all who lost something special that day.
The final stage is, after all, 'Acceptance.'
I hope we all get to that stage, one day.
Be safe and remember that getting somewhere, 'on time' is really not important at all, in the great scheme of things.