PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION: WHAT’s WRONG WITH THIS PHOTO? WHAT’s RIGHT WITH THAT PHOTO? Plus more pix that will let you get to know Peter Moore a wee bit better
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, FEB. 7, 2012) — First, let us get a couple of things out of the way.
(1) On behalf of Andy Poncherello, the Friends of The REAL Pittsfield Benefit for Peter Moore, and THE PLANET, we hereby offer this invitation to the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, and specifically the 700 members of its Berkshire Young Professionals Program, to attend the benefit on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. We hope to see as many of you as we can.
(2) The Nilan-Moore Case has been described elsewhere as “political dynamite.” We neither accept nor dispute the characterization. THE PLANET’s Secret Squadron doesn’t operate along political lines. Our question in a case like this ultimately becomes: Where does the Truth lie? This one consideration at the same time encompasses all of the possible moral and ethical considerations when a person is run down and left to die in the road AND discards every political factor, which has — and should never have — a part in the calculations.
NOW WE PRESENT A FEW PHOTOS THAT MIGHT HELP SHED SOME LIGHT ON THIS QUESTION OF TRUTH
What’s wrong with this photo?
Yes, there’s a sharply delineated, head-sized hole practically in front of the driver’s seat, about which the driver wants us to believe she thought was caused by a “deer or a dog.” Friends, you know what a deer looks like. You know what a dog looks like. Their heads and bodies don’t come close in appearance or structure to that of an adult human being.
Connect the “dots” (windshield, hood, front end markings) and try to imagine any way either a dog or a deer could be reasonably identified as the cause of the damage. Also, notice the proximity of the hole in the windshield to the driver’s seat. How could anyone not know that a human being had just gone through the glass, and not lightly?
Based on the evidence, the claims made to police by Meredith Nilan do not seem credible.
Yes, there’s a dent on the hood that indicates excessive speed. You all know what car hoods look like and feel like. They are made of metal and have some give or elasticity that will resist denting or damage, unless there is (a) excessive pressure and/or (b) excessive speed involved. You know that it would take a lot of psi to leave a series of dents that substantial.
Yes, the front grille is missing, suggesting the force with which Meredith Nilan, 24, ran down Peter Moore on the night of Dec. 8, 2011, at about 8:15 p.m.
Show the world The REAL Pittsfield. Attend the Benefit for Peter Moore, 1-5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26, at Chameleon’s, 1350 East St., Pittsfield. Let’s pack the place.
Yes, all that is wrong with the photo.
But there’s something else wrong with the picture. It’s something not there.
You know what’s missing? Human compassion. It appears, does it not, that when Ms. Nilan mowed down Peter Moore then high-tailed it away from the scene, she was acting out of some impulse foreign to most of the rest of us. Sure, we can understand panic, but this isn’t a 16-year-old out joyriding on a learner’s permit. This is a 24-year-old woman, gainfully employed, a member of Berkshire Young Professionals (indicating professional ambition), and daughter to a man who, as head of the Probation Department in Pittsfield, would have been better equipped than most to teach his daughter about right and wrong.
This is a woman, in short, capable of acting like an adult … capable, we should think, of sober thinking after hitting and nearly killing a pedestrian with her vehicle … capable of realizing that she needed to stop at the scene, call the police, and wait for them to arrive. As best as we can determine, from her own statements made to the police and from the criminal charges brought against her by the police (later dismissed for trial by a magistrate who could not find enough evidence to send it to trial), Meredith Nilan did none of the above. She fled the scene, police say, and she let daddy handle the mess.
Most of the rest of us, I would suggest, would probably have acted differently. We would have put aside out panic and fear. We would have stopped the vehicle upon hitting a living creature that caused such extensive damage. We would have realized, most likely, that it wasn’t a deer, a dog, or anything else other than a person we just hit. We would get out, search the area, and tried desperately to find the person. We would call the police, then wait there until they arrived.
Thus, when we look at the photo of the vehicle police say Meredith Nilan was driving that night, we don’t see the echoes of a human heart’s warmth, that combination of compassion, accountability, concern, and maturity that enables most of us to reach out to help those in need, particularly when we are the cause of their grief. We don’t see any of that in this picture.
That is the most chilling aspect of all.
Now, my good friends, please direct your attention to this photo. What’s right with this photo? You can write boatloads, but we can supply the answer in one word. It’s a four-letter word: L-O-V-E.
The picture was taken at the hospital as Peter Moore began his recovery from near-fatal injuries inflicted upon him by Meredith Nilan, after, according to Pittsfield Police, the car she was driving swerved into the wrong lane and struck Moore, who was out jogging with his dog, Toby.
The love is apparent in the eyes of both men, in the positioning and erect body language of Tom Moore, the ever-protective father, in the gratitude apparent on the two faces that a life was somehow not lost, despite the actions — and inactions — of the driver.
The love is apparent in Tom Moore’s hands, hidden as they are, which are on the handlebars of the chair — a father literally helping his son steer through the challenge of his life. They are hands that, no doubt, helped to guide the little boy who was Peter Moore into that fine man about which we hear family, friends, and colleagues talk so much about. We see Tom Moore’s hands fixing a toy young Peter may have broken. We see them on Peter’s shoulders during a moment of setback. We see them shaking Peter’s hands during a moment of joy, such as a graduation or a wedding. They are a Father’s Hands, which alone know all of the sacrifice made on behalf of a beloved son.
We see the love in Peter Moore’s smile, an expression of the resolve of the human spirit. That smile is set like an island amid a sea of bruises, cuts, scrapes, and contusions. There’s an oasis there, green and refreshing amid what has to be an ocean of pain and a desert of discomfort, of a family man’s realization that many, many people — including complete strangers — feel drawn to him as a way of trying to assuage the sting of his injuries. They feel drawn to Peter also because of the disappointment and heartbreak of realizing there’s a type of person out there who would inflict these injuries and not only not stop to help but, even now, to the best we know almost two months later, has yet to apologize or offer the least bit of regret.
We see love in the clothing: The slate-blue conservatism of the Father, radiating solidity of bedrock contrasted with the whimsical, colorful, exuberant T-shirt the Son is wearing.
My good friends, photographs reveal much by what they show and won’t they don’t show. In a leap of thought, let me remind all that our time in this veil of tears is fleeting. We will all bid farewell, and that moment approaches for everyone.
Much against our hearts, we, too, will someday part. // The sad road lies clear. It needs no art. // We will not say if there is any Hope when it seems so far away, // but when our nursling grief is dead and no tears blur our eyes // we will see the peach-bloom in the morning sky. // We will make full circle of our banishment, and — amazed — we shall meet, // a bitter journey to a destination so sweet is cannot season the endless feast of our joy. // Our tears of happiness will never dry. (adapted from and based on a poem by Sydney Dobell, “A Farewell” )
MEET TOBY, THE HERO OF DEC. 8
This photo, ladies and gentleman, depicts the true hero of the evening of Dec. 8. This is Toby.
He’s the tough little guy who stayed by Peter Moore as he lay unconscious on the side of the road on that frozen December evening, bleeding, busted up, bruised, and battered. Toby stayed with Peter and, as best he could, tried to give him a little bit of body warmth and moral support. He also licked Peter’s face periodically, and that may have helped Peter regain consciousness.
Little Toby stayed there so long that a clump of his fur froze in a pool of his master’s blood. When Peter managed to get to his feet and regained a semblance of his senses, Toby helped him get home.
The dog wasn’t physically hurt in the incident, but when he is outside, he will avoid going near the spot what it occurred, at the top of Winesap Drive near the mouth of East Street.
Who knows what thoughts go on in the mind of a dog? We know they do think, probably in some form of conceptual pictographs. Actually, not hemmed in by the limits of language, a dog like Toby probably generates a depth of thought that would make our deepest profundities appear like the shallow end of the Kiddie’s Pool.
There’s no doubt in THE PLANET’s noggin that Toby help saved Peter Moore’s life, rendering his master everything the little guy had to give that night. Compare Toby’s actions to that of Meredith Nilan. Almost makes a person wish there was a shelter we could take some people so they could be “put to sleep.”
Did we talk about love before? Go to this link:
This is the Facebook page for THE REAL Pittsfield Benefit for Peter Moore. You will see several photos of Peter Moore with his family. There it is on display, first, in a picture of Peter Moore, his wife and family, and then a photograph that shows Peter with his grandson. These are the people who have been the most affected by the actions of Meredith Nilan on the night in question. These are the people who are waiting on the courts to provide a semblance of accountability and a whiff of justice.
Peter Moore could be any citizen of Pittsfield. This could be your family … your mother and father … your husband or wife … your children. You could be run over by a careless driver while walking, picking up your mail, taking out the trash, of just standing admiring the stars. You could be left on the side of the road for dead. It could be your husband who suffered brain trauma, nerve damage, a broken neck, and a broken leg.
Look at the faces in this picture. Let it sink in what they have been put through, not just in seeing a loved one put through this ordeal but with the subsequent handling of the case by the “justice” system in the Pittsfield courthouse.
Your chance to demonstrate solidarity with the Moores and to send a message to the handful of corrupt GOBs who try to run the city through fear will come on Sunday, Feb. 26, when Chameleon’s will host The REAL Pittsfield Benefit for Peter Moore. It will be a matinee affair so that all ages can attend. It will run from 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Those wishing to help out should contact Andy Poncherello at this link: http://www.facebook.com/events/272198382845242/.
WE SHOULD ALL RECITE THE SINNER’S PRAYER, WE SUPPOSE, AND IT WOULD DO OUR SOULS GOOD. WE HAVE ALL SINNED, BUt FORTUNATELY, WE WILL NEVER FIND OURSELVES AS SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD. ONLY PEOPLE GET ANGRY AND WISH TO EXTRACT REVENGE. GOD’S JUSTICE IS ALWAYS MERCY, OUR PERMANENT “GET OUT OF JAIL” FREE CARD …
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.