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I am sorry

by mg at 12:04 AM on May 24, 2001

I was going to respond to each of your emails before I posted anything here about this. But I've gotten more letters than I could hope to answer tonight, and I'm sure more will be getting coming within the next couple days. I will still personally respond to every email that I've gotten and anymore that I might receive in the future.

I want to apologize for any pain I may have caused Robert's friends and family who have read the post in question. At times, it's difficult to remember that behind every news story I read, there is a real person, one who has suffered a very real tragedy, leaving behind grieving family and friends that will forever live an altered life filled with a sense of pain and emptiness.

I won't make this a discussion about freedom of speech. I won't make this a discussion about a person's right to not view things that they find offensive. This isn't about principles or esoteric arguments about communication theory. This is about a real person. Someone who was loved by many people. A person who died.

I think it is pretty obvious to everyone that Robert's death was stupid and unfortunate and should never have happened. It was a freak accident that could and should have been avoided.

I understand, more than any of you can imagine, how shocked and frustrated you are by his death. It doesn't make any sense and should never have happened. But your confusion and anger shouldn't be taken out on me. I wasn't there when he died. I wrote a stupid article that may have been in very poor taste and that I didn't think anyone would take seriously.

I've gotten death threats from people. Death threats! Say what you will about me and what I wrote, but if this is really about preserving Robert's memory, is the right way to do that by threatening and harassing someone? Is taking your anger and frustrations out on me going to bring him back?

I want to help. I want the world to know the Robert that you all knew, not the one portrayed in my article. To honor Robert, I will personally help any one of you to set up a website in his memory. I will help you all to do this, because I realize I did something wrong, something that people found to be hurtful and nasty.

I am now feeling pain for Robert because of your letters, by getting to know the person behind the news story. That pain is nowhere near the pain those of you who know him must have felt after his death, and there is no way I could apologize enough for causing any additional suffering. As I am sitting here, reading each and every email you've sent me, I am shaking. Not from fear, but of genuine concern for the pain I've caused an entire community. I am sorry.



comments (15)

While friends and family of Robert and the entire Furman community have every right to be upset over the suddenness of his passage (mysterious ways can often be upsetting ways) as well as upset over any posthumous mockery which seems to have taken place, this entire situation leaves me very confused about one thing:

Who first discovered mg's comments, and why did that individual elect to pass them on to others? mg's worded regarding this incident were penned months ago, but the public outcry did not occur until very recently, meaning the traffic from those who knew Robert did not occur due simply to a lot of Furman traffic at badsamaritan. In all likelihood, then, someone merely stumbled across mg's post.

Why, then, did that individual proceed to pass along knowledge of the post in question to the friends and family of the deceased, so as to cause even more anguish for those who have already endured so much? What was the motive? To cause more pain to those who knew Robert? To cause suffering to mg? To force an apology or a retraction?

Honestly now, this site is called "Bad Samaritan" for a reason, not "Good Samaritan," and anyone visiting should expect exactly the sort of "unenlightened sensitivity" that caused this ruckus. As far as I'm concerned, whoever spread the word owes an apology to those affected as much as mg does. For the only motive I can see behind spreading the knowledge of this post is selfishness in the name of stoning another.

by Drywall at May 24, 2001 2:14 AM

It seems that the theme is steadily gaining notoriety and publicity.

At a generic standpoint, a couple of Ďhate-mailí may be perceived as reasonable. But corresponding to the comment that Drywall has so aptly tendered, ( jibing my personal persuasion as well ) the volume of dissonance and hostility projected seemed a little swerved away from the compelling issue.

Apology has been promptly put forth. That should relieve the matter of considerable burden since thatís what theyíre trying to chalk up as well as due respect to the late Robert.Well, here they are. My heartfelt sympathy to Rob and his immediate circle and I believe it wasnít Michael's design to inflict whatever grievances on anyone.

Echoing the points Drywall has ventilated, the suggestive theme of BadSamaritan obviously requires some slack and provision of the critical minds.

Michael may have roused well-meaning provocation over the subject but he has also extended his unfeigned apology and remorse over the matter. Heck, he even seek to make amendments to redeem some penance by proffering assistance to those who may want to set up a shrine for dear Rob.

The gesture may be appear paltry to some but nevertheless it is a meant attempt to atone for the commiseration of the tragic accident that befell a special someone.

Maybe we could acknowledge Michael's penitency and let's not unhinge Rob's eternal peace.

by ScreamingNun at May 24, 2001 7:42 AM

For anyone who is interested, I "elected" myself to pass the Michaelís distasteful article to my friends (mind you, I did not mention this to his immediate family). Being one of the most physically and emotionally involved in Robís death I was especially affected by the article. If we are going to talk about 1st amendment rights, lets consider the fact that as much as itís Michaelís "right" to say anything he wants, it is just as much our and my right to read, respond, and react to what he says. I am aware that the article was written months ago. I am aware that I did stumble upon his site in hope of finding more information about Rob and his life before Furman University. But I am also very much aware of the pain and suffering that it caused me and the few others that read it when I did. My friends deserved to see the filth that people take upon themselves to write at the expense of others feelings. The motive, my friend, was to outrage people as to what had been said on behalf of Rob. My friends were glad that I shared with them the article and only wished they had found it themselves. The intentions of my email were to bring to Michael's attention how hurtful and unnecessary his words were. I (I canít speak for everyone when I say this . . . ) aspired to change an article, a website, and maybe even a person with my email.

As far as I am concerned Drywall, YOU are not concerned. You shouldnít become involved in a situations without knowing all the details first. If you had received the emails, had written the article, or even talked to Michael online as I did, maybe then I would consider your suggestion valid or even intelligent. Until then you are to me, and many others, just another "unenlightened insensitive" bystander.



by Kaat at May 24, 2001 12:31 PM

Well, Drywall, there is one thing you forget. Since you are not involved in the pain we're all feeling here at Furman, you do not understand what it is like to read such a horrible posting. Yes, someone did "stumble upon" this posting, but I'm glad she did. I, too, told my friends about the webpage in an attempt to bring about their pain and anger. I don't think articles like this should be on the web. I told my friends to read it and respond so we could get this damaging piece of fiction about Rob off the web, so no one could see it again. Fortunately, the responses were many and it was taken down. Sometimes you just have to write what you believe in, Drywall, even if that means that it will come across as harsh to the writer. Rob needs to be remembered and cherished, not laughed at as a joke. Michael needed to be reminded that his words were painful and that Rob was another human being. I am very thankful that Michael took the article off of the web and wrote an apology, and I am thankful that our emails and words meant something to him. That was our purpose. Do not judge us on how we react to reading such a posting. You did not know Rob and you do not know the situation.

by Corey at May 24, 2001 12:50 PM

For the record, Drywall lives down the street from me and I shared with him some of the emails which were sent to all of us, so he is familiar with most of the situation.

I agree that it is all too often to forget that behind everything on earth that was not created naturally there exists a human being. Words are spoken and regretted, but no matter what happens it is impossible to take those words back again. If that could happen, the face of this world would be vastly different from what it is now.

But enough. I hate conflict and strife more than just about anything else on earth, and I'm ready to make peace. I share Michael's feelings and helped him with this situation. An apology has been given and an offer of peace. Let's not continue the spewing of hatred in another's name.

by snaggle at May 24, 2001 12:56 PM

The reason why anyone would respond to this article so late was because some people were looking for articles on Rob's past from High School and the most recent tragic articles. The person who found this and sent a link to her friends did want to spread anger because we are all still upset about the situation and the fact that someone would rip on one of our best friends is just terrible. I understand what your site is about, but it makes me wonder if the "good samaritan" would appreciate such a site. Also, thank you for taking the article off the web, it shows that you do care enough to help us out. Nolan

by MIgida at May 24, 2001 2:43 PM

Can we get the regular ol' badsam homepage back? What's said cannot be unsaid, what's done cannot be undone. Apologies and retractions can, should be, and have been issued. Michael might be changed for the better, I don't know but it sure sounds like it, but none of anything going on here changes who Robert was or how he dies or how he will be remembered by those who knew him, who are the only ones who will ever know the truth about him, regardless of what others say or write.

No one's life can be put back to normal after this, but badsam, at least, can return to regular programming, I hope? Shar, Snaggle, Zia... aren't they still allowed to post? This is a blog, right?

by Anubis at May 24, 2001 4:05 PM

Anger is the last thing the person who died would want out of the people who loved him. The best way to honor his memory is to let the subjet go, to not hold on to the illusions of the person you thought you knew by creating pedestals.

Never forget the person, both qualities and flaws, but if all you remember is the good times, before long you'll remember good times that didn't exist. Before long, you'll focus a good amount of time remembering a twisted version of someone whose entire persona is different from the person you knew. And when the dawning that you'll never see, hear, or feel that person again comes, you'll be crushed.

They probably wouldn't want all the flattery anyways. Think of them as you would a grade school best friend, or a pleasent ex girlfriend. The memory remains intact, your view of them unaltered. THAT is the way they'd want to be remembered.

by MelvinTheJerk at May 25, 2001 1:05 PM

I'm just glad that MelvinTheJerk has personally spoken to Robert from heaven and cleared up how he would have wanted everyone to remember him. If you wouldn't mind sharing your personal connection with the Rob and some of the other things he told you we would all feel honored. Riiiight.

by Wethinkyourajerk at May 25, 2001 5:38 PM

can someone please explain to me whats going on??

by CONFUSED at May 25, 2001 5:42 PM

I'm speaking from the personal experience of knowing my friends die as I grew up. One was shot in the face. One was in a car wreck so bad, his body had to be scraped off the inside of his car after they pried it away from the pole.

These things are awful and bother me to this day occasionally. I'm trying to be a voice of comfort in saying that you should remember your friend. And maybe I wasn't as close to Robert as you, but can you tell me he would have approved of your tone?

by MelvinTheJerk at May 26, 2001 12:52 AM

Ok, here it goes. I know this comment is 5 months after the death of Rob, but it's getting put up anyway. For those of you who read it, think what you want. I admit it, I didn't know Rob personally, but I know one of the people who was on that balcony with him. She, for one, should have known better than to let Rob climb up onto the rail in the state he was in. I'm not blaming her at all, because from what I read in "The Paladin" (Furman's newspaper) and the Greenville newspapers, Rob should have known better, too. Apparently he was an intelligent person, but he slipped up, as well as the 2 other people with him. But I happen to agree with Drywall. Katie, you shouldn't have passed it on. You should have sent your mail to Michael and dealt with it. Causing your friends and Rob's friends even more grief was unnecessary. And Courtney, sweetie, tone down your whole life some. You get upset over very little things (given, this isn't little, but still). Furman isn't your average party school. We are a dry campus, according to the rules (but what college student ever listens to the rules?) It was a very unfortunate incident that could have been prevented. But hounding a man about an article he wrote that seemed to follow the same lines as the Darwin Awards (do they ever get yelled at for what they write?) is not going to bring him back, or make getting over the pain any easier. It just puts everyone in an uproar that is unnecessary. As a Furman Student, I think it really bites (yes, we "refined" Furman students do use those words, and some that are more profane, but anyway) that one of our own died on campus from a tragic incident. Like I said before, hounding the author of a website will not bring him back, nor will it help ease the pain we (as a collective student body) and his close friends feel. Rob was a bright person, and, from what I read about him, very goal-oriented and good-hearted. Let him be that way without dragging someone else down in his name. I really don't think he would have wanted that.

by Furman Student at August 28, 2001 11:57 PM

Furman Student - Could you have contradicted yourself a FEW more times in your worthless babble? (Courtney gets upset about little things, but this isn't little . . . soooo what exactly are you arguing? "According to the rules", but according to you, what college kid abides by the rules? do YOU even know what you're saying?) Next time you want to throw in your 2 cents worth of unintelligent information you might want to make sure your facts are correct sweetheart. You might know one of the people that was involved in the accident but obviously not well enough to get your information straight. And one other thing . . . who do you think you are offering your suggestions as to what should have and could have been done to avoid the accident. I'm not sure who YOU are but I know who you're not, and that's GOD. So stop pretending to be HIM. tisk tisk Furman Student, "getting rid of the log in your own eye before judging the speck in someone else's eye" is ideal.

by A Smarter Furman Student at January 21, 2002 1:44 PM

blah blah blah...god this and god that...you fit in with everyone else at furman..."if you don't spend every waking moment in the chapel or some other church in greenvile...you're going to HELL!!!" damn...gotta love going to school in the bible belt....

by another furman student at February 1, 2002 5:23 PM

blah blah blah...god this and god that...you fit in with everyone else at furman..."if you don't spend every waking moment in the chapel or some other church in greenvile...you're going to HELL!!!" damn...gotta love going to school in the bible belt....

by a third furman student at February 1, 2002 6:20 PM

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