New Yorker Article on Accidental Killing

Several months ago the writer Alice Gregory posted on this site her interest in talking with CADIs. Many of you responded by generously sharing your stories and insights. Her article on the experience of accidental killing and the lack of resources to support CADI’s (my acronym for those who have “caused accidental death or injury”) has been published in this week’s New Yorker magazine:

I think the article shows great compassion and insight, and I hope it will make a difference by raising awareness and motivating some psychotherapists, trauma specialists, or others to focus on this neglected group.  It is already helping individuals (and their friends and family members) struggling with the experience of accidental killing. For instance, the article has dramatically increased traffic to this website. If you see more comments than usual showing up on the site, that is why.

The vast majority of comments I’ve received about this article, and other published work on CADIs, have been appreciative and supportive. A number of people have written to me about urban planning, public policy, engineering, and other programs and interventions intended to prevent car vs. pedestrian, car. vs. bicycle or car vs. car collisions. I will be looking into these programs more and will post about some of the more promising efforts. If you know about this, please write to me and share your experience or recommendations.  I’m also interested in efforts to prevent other kinds of accidents, including workplace accidents, gun accidents, boating accidents, and the like.

Of course I strongly believe that CADI’s are deserving of compassion and support.  With that comes an acceptance of responsibility and accountability.  As awareness and understanding increase in our society, I believe that people will be more willing to invest in whatever steps are needed to reduce the number of accidents — better roads, bike lanes, improved lighting, new technologies, and so forth.  This will make our world safer and, over time, the number of CADIs will decline.

2 thoughts on “New Yorker Article on Accidental Killing”

  1. I recently read the article, The Sorrow and Shame of the Accidental Killer, in the New Yorker (Sept 18 issue) about your experience and those of others .
    The article closely reflected my experience as a restorative practitioner working with cases of accidental death or other cases where serious harm was caused. In the majority of these cases, if the parties agree to a restorative process , the result is healing and often transformative.
    I wrote a letter to the magazine in response to the article but whether they publish it or not I’m not sure. If you’d like to see my response I’m happy to send it to you.
    You have mentioned restorative justice in some of your blogs.
    RJ offers a powerful and effective way for people to deal with these kinds of trauma by tapping into people’s inner resources of courage, strength and compassion, and by speaking to their common humanity. It’s not appropriate for every situation or every person and of course has to be engaged with with utmost sensitivity but for those who are open to it can be a liberating and powerful process.
    Having recently relocated back to NY from the United Kingdom where there is a move toward offering people in these circumstances the option of a restorative process, I am interested in advocating for something similar here.

  2. In 1950 in Golf Manor a neighborhood of Cincinnati where our author had her accident, my brother Bobby was hit and killed as he walked in front of a city bus which was being used as a school bus. There was no law against this at the time. My parents never had ill feelings about the man who hit Bobby. My sibs and I have rarely talked about how the man must have felt, how it affected his life. Thank you to Ms. Gray and the New Yorker who, on the week of Yom Kippur has published a sensitive and necessary story. Blessings to families who have lost and ones who created the loss…..

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