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Dallas Green speaks about the loss of his granddaughter

Feb 17, 2011, 6:15 AM EDT

Dallas Green

As you certainly remember, Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed during the shooting rampage in Tucson last month, was the granddaughter of ex-MLB manager Dallas Green and the daughter of current Dodgers scout John Green. Yesterday, Dallas Green, who works as a consultant for the Phillies,  spoke to the media about his family’s loss.

I’m struck by Green’s bluntness. We’re so used to hearing cliches when someone dies, especially children. About God’s plan, and little angels looking down and all sorts of things that, while understandable for those grieving to cling to, have become somewhat empty and, in a strange way, desensitizing.  Green’s sense of loss and his concern for his son and his family is far more palpable than we’re used to hearing in these situations and thus more affecting:

“Baseball helps me.  You sink yourself into your work and you don’t see a little girl with a hole in her chest as much … This isn’t about me.  It’s about my son, John, and his family. They are hurting desperately. It’s a terrible thing on John, Roxanna and Little D. I can get through it, but they’re going to hurt like the devil for a long time … This is still the best country in the world to live in.  You would hope there would be some understanding that there are crazies in the world.”

There are crazies in the world.  And, as Springsteen sang, there’s a meanness. And more chaos than we dare admit. We try to convince ourselves that there is not. That there is an order to things and purpose.  Part of that unsavory business in which so many felt the need to cast the Tucson shooting into political terms is part of that. There must be a cause, we tell ourselves.  Our orderly universe cannot just unravel like that without a purpose and intention.  Someone — someone who isn’t mentally deranged like the shooter — is to blame.

And while often there are many thing that, on a very basic level contribute in some small way to such incidents — someone who missed a warning sign, some law, some song lyric, some video game, some novel or some inflammatory rhetoric — these things rarely if ever truly own or deserve anything approaching a substantial chunk of that blame.  It’s craziness, sickness, meanness and chaos that is the true culprit.  We don’t want to believe it because it doesn’t bring much comfort to admit it, but it’s true.

Keep a good thought in your heart today for the Green family.  And always make sure that the people you love know that you love them.  It’s the most effective bulwark against the chaos of our world.

  1. Jonny 5 - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    I couldn’t agree more.

  2. pkswally024 - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Great post Craig.

  3. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Part of that unsavory business in which so many felt the need to cast the Tucson shooting into political terms is part of that. There must be a cause, we tell ourselves.

    Very well put.

    • largebill - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      Concur. Sometimes we rush to categorize an event rather than to honestly just mourn. Evil or crazy exists. That will never change. In America alone there are over three hundred million people. Even if the truly deranged are just a tiny percentage of our total population there will always be a few around. Always have been and always will be.

      As for the Green family, there is nothing I can say to lessen their pain. Sadly, the only cure for that kind of pain is time and lots of it.

  4. huskerguy - Feb 17, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    “This is still the best country in the world to live in. You would hope there would be some understanding that there are crazies in the world.”

    Wow. Sounds like a man with great morales and thoughts. I pray his family finds peace.

  5. BC - Feb 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Dallas Green kicked butt. He’s as tough as they come. I can’t imagine what he and his family are going through, and I don’t have kids so I can’t remotely identify with it. Wishing peace to them.

  6. bringpudgebacktotx - Feb 17, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Wow. Craig, this article is amazingly written. I am all choked up at my desk. Like you mentioned, I appreciate his bluntness and getting straight to the point that his family is hurting and no cliche can cure a broken heart.

  7. pwf207 - Feb 17, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Look, i’m not trying to politicize this thread but the facts don’t really fit the notion of isolated craziness/sickness being the causes. here are just some of the other acts of violence committed or attempted by people with extremist political views, plus, there is really only one political party that advocates for the right to own 33 bullet extended clips, that Green himself says are only intended to kill people(quote is in full article Craig links to.) and only one side that advocates for a loophole so big in gun control laws you could drive a truck through it. and human behaviors result from the interaction of brain states and stimuli and in the modern urban world the majority of stimuli people encounter are human made. the sum total of all this is to say that evil as some sort of non-natural force is a human concept not a real world driver of actions and the narrative that there are just unexplainable acts of evil is detrimental to the degree that it prevents focus on the factors of human outcomes that are changeable and might result in different outcomes.

    • largebill - Feb 17, 2011 at 1:28 PM


      You start by claiming you don’t want to politicize the thread and then you do so and link to some moron’s one sided website who dishonestly attempts to make the case that violent rhetoric (not retoric by the way) or action is only found on the right. Both sides have people that go to far. I may believe there are more on the left you may mistakenly believe there are more on the right. Doesn’t matter or pertain to this case. The shooter in Arizona was flat out nuts. The only thing that might have prevented him from hurting people would have been recognizing that he was nuts and institutionalizing him before he acted.

      • schlom - Feb 17, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        I’m guessing he just got confused, he meant to post this on DailyKos or HuffingtonPost

      • pwf207 - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        well if you bothered to read through link you would see that it is merely the aggregation of stories from such notoriously left wing papers as USA Today and Business Insider. Also there is nothing dishonest in pointing out facts, neither is it dishonest to state that there are differences between groups. the left in this country does not engage in the types of acts cataloged in the link I posted (and I can post more if you are not convinced of the link between right wing extremism and domestic terrorism) alternately I could direct you the loony left wing Department of Homeland Security’s reports on the rise of right wing extremism. the point is these are not opinions of mine, they are facts. among other facts are that without high capacity magazines, this shooter could not have inflicted as much damage as he did. this is not politically influenced opinion, it is fact; more bullets means more opportunity to harm. the larger point that i was trying to make clear is that explaining away human actions as evil is detrimental as all human actions are rooted in the interaction of brain states and stimuli and thus are at least theoretically open to analysis.

        I would ask anyone who would not accept a non explanation like there are just some things we can’t understand for an outcome on the baseball diamond why they would find that permissible in an area where the stakes are much higher.
        Craig, you would not accept, “well we will never know” for why 2009 AJ Burnett and 2010 AJ had such starkly different outcomes, you would examine things like his O-zone whiff rate. why not apply the same set of principles to other forms of human behavior?

      • Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Feb 17, 2011 at 4:26 PM

        @ pwf207:

        Look, i’m not trying to politicize this thread but the facts don’t really fit the notion of isolated craziness/sickness being the causes.

        here are just some of the other acts of violence committed or attempted by people with extremist political views,

        It is dishonest when you say you are pointing out facts and use a sight that only attacks one side. That would be like me using (Not sure that is a real sight but you get my point) and saying I am only pointing out facts, not politicizing the issue. Any dumbass can pick and choose and say they are “analyzing the facts.”

        And he wasn’t a right winger, so YES the facts do point to craziness/ brain deficiencies here boss.

  8. Utley's Hair - Feb 17, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Thoughts and prayers go out to the Green family—without actually going through the same thing, nobody can possibly know what kind of pain they are dealing with. May Christina and the rest of the victims rest in peace.

  9. IdahoMariner - Feb 17, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    I appreciated Mr. Green’s bluntness, too. When we use euphemisms, we distance ourselves. That helps the people who are most directly suffering the loss, but for the rest of us, it is dangerous to distance like that — because then we tell ourselves this doesn’t happen, etc. Realizing the depth of such a loss, to the extent we can without actually suffering it ourselves, helps us work to prevent others. I don’t want that to happen to my daughter, and I don’t want anyone around me to think that I think it’s acceptable to be violent toward others…so I need to be kinder to those I encounter, more inclusive, not less. More patient, not less. Stand up for people who are being harmed. Yeah, there are crazies…but there are the rest of us, prone to tempers, and impatience, and even violence, and believing that everyone else is rude and mean, so it doesn’t matter if we are, too. It does matter. Maybe not to stop the completely insane, but to lessen some of the casual, everyday, less news-worthy violence that so many of us inflict on others. Mr. Green, unfortunately, knows too well what it is to lose a bright light, what it means to lose someone to violence, and he didn’t soft-pedal it for the rest of us. I don’t know how you find peace after something like this, but I hope he and his family find some, someday.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Amen to that.

  10. mgflolox - Feb 17, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Every time I see a picture of that beautiful, little 9 year old girl, it breaks my heart. I can’t possibly even begin to understand the pain and the sorrow that family must be going through. Frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Dallas Green, but all I can feel right now is deep sympathy for him and his family. All I can do is pray for peace to settle over them, and for them to just get through it day by day.

  11. pwf207 - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    @shlom, just so you know, you were the one who politicized the thread by asserting that my comment was meant for left wing blogs. i was engaged in a dispassionate analysis of the facts of this case as well as the facts regarding the circumstances that may or may not have lead to the specific outcome. i even went out of my way to say i was not trying to politicize the conversation, i merely wanted to debate the narrative being set forth in the post that some things are just the result of “evil”‘s existence and are thus unexplainable an by extension unpreventable.

    • pwf207 - Feb 17, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      it just so happened that some of the facts had a political aspect to them but my comment was not political in nature, it was analytical.

  12. offseasonblues - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Well said, Craig, very well said.

  13. koufaxmitzvah - Feb 17, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    My mother was murdered by a man who bought his gun specifically to kill her and then himself, so in a way, I have an understanding. Part of this understanding is that we’re all individuals with our own responses to tragedy and the notion of living what life we have on this planet. The Greens, I am sure, are heartened by everyone’s continuing well wishes, and even if the best scenario comes out of this situation– that, say, another 9-year-old girl who feels the passion of young Christina becomes the greatest leader this country has had– will not fix the situation. Nothing will.

    Living victims of murder don’t see anything but the straight, cold heart truth. My mother being in heaven means squat anytime it is that I miss her. But, you know, the same can be said for someone who has lost a parent to some awful degnerating cancer.

    The point is that life on Earth is only for a small period of time. We don’t get to choose our birth, and not many of us get to choose how or when we die. And the big joke is that those people who take it upon themselves to be in control tend to lose the most.

    May Christina’s memory be a blessing, and let there be a peace for all victims of violence everywhere.

  14. pwf207 - Feb 18, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    @Rosenthal, the reason the list APPEARS one sided is because the facts ARE one sided, with the exception of Clay Duke, a simple Google search for “left wing violence USA” returns nothing. the fact is that acts of politically motivated violence are committed more frequently in current USA by people influenced by right wing rhetoric. if you can show evidence to the contrary i will admit that the facts have changed. also the site i linked to does not attack, here is the only original language added by the author of the site “what are the reasons so many from the right committed acts of violence ?” all the rest of the is copied from other news sites, even the huffpo link is merely an aggregation from the Bangor News. there is no editorializing or opinion in either my or the linked comments. as such i was not being dishonest.

  15. kevinrohling - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    That’s a terrible loss, I wish him and his family the best.

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