One of the most heartbreaking stories of death here on Staten Island during Superstorm Sandy is that of one Mrs. Glenda Moore who was attempting to drive her little boys to the safety of family in Brooklyn New York when her car stalled out in the rapidly rising storm surge. According to the early reports, Mrs. Moore sat the boys, 2 and 4, on the roof of the car when a wave separated the mother and sons.
Mrs. Moore and her husband are regarded by neighbors as warm and loving parents who are least deserving of the tragedy that has befallen them.
Read it here before continuing.
The emerging narrative is that Mrs. Moore went door-to-door looking for help and was refused; the entire drama occurring in the zone of mandatory evacuation. Neither she nor they should have been there.
It’s simply heartbreaking, but one needs to understand a little geography from the scene to contextualize the story. Mrs. Moore was traveling along a major road that runs right along the boardwalk, three lanes in either direction. She was on the side of the road closest to the water. The houses are all on the other side of the road, called Father Capodanno Blvd.
If one stands on the boardwalk and looks straight out, one is at the mouth of the New York Harbor, where the Atlantic Ocean is funneled in by the angled shorelines of New Jersey and Brooklyn. The full fury of the ocean was funneled precisely at Mrs. Moore’s location.
Having spoken with friends who were in the area, the water came pouring in like a wall. I’ve seen the damage, and helped in the area, which was completely devastated.
The truth is that there was nothing that could have been done. Had I been there and came out to the rapidly rising ocean surrounding my home, with transformers exploding on the telephone poles, in the inky black of night, with waters filled with debris that becomes deadly submerged projectiles in the roiling currents, with power lines coming down in the waters, with no idea of where those boys were with waves crashing against the house in 90 mile per hour winds, I wouldn’t have gone swimming about aimlessly.
The ocean is unforgiving.
This is the tragedy of a mother who drove almost a mile from one main road on higher ground to get to Father Capodanno Blvd, which is right on the beach. It was a fatal error made by a mother who loved her children passionately. However, what this is NOT is a story of is heartlessness, of callousness.
Had anyone gone into those waters, there might well have been a higher body count. The truth is that Mrs. Moore’s boys were already drowned by the time she made it to those doors and started begging for help that was already futile. That’s the cold and brutal reality of the events as reported.
Had I, or any other Staten Islander seen Mrs. Moore lose her grip on the boys, then yes, we would have risked all to dive in after them. But to look out at the ocean rising all about and not know where to begin?
All of Staten Island weeps with Mrs. Moore and her husband, but this story has gone national and international with the potential to unjustly sully the character of a community that is second to none in its shared sense of community.
There is a great, huge difference between refusing to help and refusing to commit suicide. Mrs. Moore fled in the middle of a storm that we all knew for several days was coming. She then drove to the very place where the flooding would be, in the midst of that storm, while there were safe shelters open on the island. To turn this into something that it’s not, her unimaginable grief notwithstanding, cannot be permitted.
We pray for the Moore’s healing, that these two loving parents may be comforted by the community and their Catholic faith, and that the initial bitterness surrounding that night’s events might soon be seen in its proper light.
Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let Perpetual Light shine upon them.