Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nancy Cooper's family: Brad killed her

The shock of seeing these words in print caused me to gasp out loud. Not because of any belief or disbelief. I can't explain why, the harsh reality just caught me off-guard.

During this week, a trial is ongoing for the custody of Nancy and Brad Cooper's children. I have chosen to speak here only about my feelings about Nancy and her death. Even then, it has been infrequent.

In the past year and a half I have learned more about grief than I ever wanted, beginning with Leila's death and now with Nancy's; both were tragic and sudden. I understand now that loss is a part of life. I am beginning to understand the social norms around death and the way that the grieving are expected to go inward after a period of public mourning. I understand that the ability to do so is to some observers a measure of one's success at coping. I understand that while the grief may churn above or below the surface, it doesn't go away.

For me, reading the published information around Nancy's death and the ensuing legal battles has given me a focus. Without it, I struggled to know where to focus my anger because no one has been charged with her murder. Reading the news stories, watching the depositions, reading the affidavits: all this makes me feel like I am doing something. And lacking a convicted killer, I was hoping to channel my anger at the people who are part of the public commentary.

With the same public information as the commentators but also with personal knowledge of Nancy, Brad, their marriage, and their relationships, I have been unable or unwilling to do anything but witness. I am asked all the time if I think Brad killed Nancy and while I don't mind or resent the question, I say that I don't know, which for some doesn't really answer the question of what I think. But I stand by the fact that I don't have enough information to decide, so in this situation what I know is what I think.

Nancy's death, the custody case for her children, and the murder investigation have wrenched the local public into attention. I think that is good and right, but sadly, not all attention is positive. I don't know if it is the anonymous nature of the internet (comments are posted with aliases chosen by the commenter) or that access to so much information lulls people into thinking they have all of the information. Nevertheless, I am astonished at the way in which some people with less information than myself are willing to not only draw conclusions publicly, but also to personally attack Nancy and defame the character, intentions, and intelligence of her family (who I believe have acted with more grace than I thought summonable in this situation). These commenters also presume to know the emotional needs of the Cooper children. Here is a smattering of comments from the WRAL website (commenter's alias in parentheses). Note: To be fair, I should say too that Brad has been subjected to some of the same treatment.

"He's the only person I can think of with the motivation and the access," Garry Rentz testified. Your lack of thinking ability is hardly relevent. (haggis basher)

Nancy's parents have the judge, Cary, police dept, etc. in their back pocket..(lilwil)

Ok Parents of Nancy, you know oohhhhh so much more then the Cary Police. Prove it. Stop watching the stupid news. Guess you believe in the 3rd world approach. Guility until proven innocent. (Morrisville)

just because she told everyone he was a jerk doesnt mean it was true. people say mean things about their spouses when they cant have their way. THE ONLY reason her parents are doing this is to get those kids, WHO need to be with their father (Snow whites poisoned Apple)

I think her family should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, defamation, interfering with an investigation, etc. etc. etc. They are despicable and should not even be allowed to speak to their grandchildren. (tarheelalum)

And the Cooper family is also confusing the girls by trying to substitute Nancy's twin sister for their mother. I still can't believe that a judge would take these children away from their daddy and let them be taken out of the country, especially when he is not even considered a person of interest, much less a suspect in the case. (Historians_13th)

The lynching nature of these attacks doesn't make me angry as I expected, so failure in the attempt to use it for my own focus. I don't begrudge people the opportunity to state their opinion, but I do begrudge the stating of one's opinion as fact. The comments defending Brad or the comments saying that he did it don't make me feel good, either. But since I started reading these posts, I am coming to the conclusion that there is enough anger around the subject without my own--and that idea gives me a measure of peace--at least for now.


Art2mis said...

Hear hear!

I try not to read the crazy comments. I feel that Nancy's character was extremely well known by the people she cared to be known by -- and how can anonymous web posters diminish her in any way? I feel the same way about her family, her friends, our family, etc.

The "court" of public opinion is not the court that matters.

We miss you guys...I don't think I have your number or I would call. We're listed...

lemmie said...

I hear you!

I have been amazed at what is online about Nancy(and Brad, too). Since we don't live in Cary anymore, I often get my news online about the case, and have come across comments like the ones you posted. I can only hope that there is a quick trial and quick resolution for everyone's sake...

Art2mis said...

I can't remember -- do you two know each other? If not, you SHOULD. Two very like souls, and I mean that in the absolute best possible way.

S., you and I should plan a trip out to the mountains someday. You guys could teach me how to knit, and we'd cook up a storm!