August 2009


Wyoming Memories: Jessica Dubroff

Now that I am actively planning my Wyoming vacation, I’m having a ton of old Wyoming memories replay.

Many of these will seep out over the next few months—I hope you will indulge me.

One of the odder memories revolves around Jessica Dubroff, who was the so-called youngest pilot in America—flying from coast to coast in order to set the record of being the youngest pilot ever to do so.

For a brief moment in time, she was a celebrity, and today nobody knows her name.

Her fame peaked when her attempt to break the record failed in the street of a quiet residential neighborhood one blustery cold Cheyenne morning, April 11, 1996.

Shortly after take off her plane crashed, killing her, her father, and the pilot in command.

Oddly enough I remember that day, not with perfect clarity, but, considering time elapsed, fairly well. That morning I’d driven from Laramie to Denver, via Cheyenne. Along they way I’d had car trouble—so severe that I’d pulled off the highway and was rescued by the Wyoming Highway Patrol. I don’t recall the specifics, but I’m under the impression that there had been white-out conditions east of Laramie, shortly after the summit, and that a few miles later my car couldn’t go fast, it kept going slower and slower.

The patrolman called AAA for me, the car was towed to Cheyenne, and the repairman told me that ice had clogged up the front grill and that the car was otherwise OK. Basically the car was having trouble breathing. I bought a new air filter anyway and got on the highway heading south to Denver.

I had the same problem as I headed south, and pulled off I-25 at some exit to knock snow and ice out of the front grill, before continuing. I’d even noticed the satellite trucks from Denver’s television stations headed south from Cheyenne—and I knew why they’d been in Cheyenne.

Jessica Dubroff had landed in Cheyenne the previous evening and had been splashed all over the news. She was the kind of pointless news drivel that television news loves: a happy story so simple that even the most idiotic reporter couldn’t screw it up.

Of course the trucks had left Cheyenne after the crash but before the news was widely known. I’m sure the trucks turned around to go right back up to Cheyenne to cover the tragedy.

The truth of the matter is that her parents shouldn’t have ever let her fly. Seven years old is too young to be a pilot, too young to be flying across the country, too young to be constantly interviewed by television reporters. And, it seems, a contributing factor to the crash.

Take this from the NTSB report (in PDF form/AVWeb Report):

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot in command’s improper decision to take off into deteriorating weather conditions (including turbulence, gusty winds, and an advancing thunderstorm and associated precipitation) when the airplane was overweight and when the density altitude was higher than he was accustomed to, resulting in a stall caused by failure to maintain airspeed.  Contributing to the pilot in command’s decision to take off was a desire to adhere to an overly ambitious itinerary, in part, because of media commitments. (Emphasis added.)

A week or two later, I hitched a ride from Laramie to Cheyenne with a history classmate, so that we could do some research in the Wyoming State Library. The accident site was, as I recall, relatively close to the library, and we passed numerous flower bouquets that had been left by the public.

Fortunately congress passed a law making any further attempts to out do Jessica Dubroff illegal.

There is a strange coda to this story—I searched for information about the accident, and it seems that her Mother is maintaining a Twitter account on her behalf: @JessicaDubroff.

94 comments to Wyoming Memories: Jessica Dubroff

  • J

    A bit of a tangent – I’ve just looked at your Dopplr and saw how many different places you’ll be visiting in WY. I do hope that you’ll make a post about why they are significant to you (other than Laramie – you’ve already told us).

  • Yes, the kid’s parents were idiots. *rolls eyes*

  • @J: I’ll babble about the places here and there. Some of it will probably wait until I am there or just after I’ve left–and some of the spots I am going to visit, I have never visited before.

    @CQ: You should check out Jessica-Dubroff.com, the site maintained by her Mother. I think her mother needs help–I am under the impression she thinks children should be treated as if they are adults, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. She was opposed to the law that was passed as a result of her child’s death!

  • I am Jessica Dubroff’s Mother.

    Your quote that “Seven Years Olds” are too young to be a pilot, too young to be flying across the country, too young to be constantly interviewed by television reporters” is basically saying that CHILDREN are simply too young to live their lives.

    I am sure you would prefer that the PEOPLE we call CHILDREN remain without their inalienable rights, freedoms, sovereignty, with the pursuit of happiness being completely out of the question until 18 or 21 years of age, Yet, the FACT is that as a U.S. Citizen from birth Jess had every right to live fully until she died and your personal opinions can’t change Our U.S. Constitution that honors and protects the rights, freedoms and liberties of “ALL PERSONS BORN”.

    We can all agree that no one wants death especially the death of a Child. Yet, Death happens to us all at every age. It is interesting that you have no stand against the death of children from car accidents which we can literally guarantee will continue to happen every single day throughout this great nation of ours.

    I also know that if Jess were dying of a disease you would pitch in and raise money for her to have her flight as a “Dream Come True”, yet when a perfectly fit, healthy, smart person of Seven Years Old goes for a cross country flight BY CHOICE, you can hardly stand it.

    My heart goes out to all of you who illegally raise your children without the rights your children were literally born with.

    My Very Best to each of you.

    • Dear Mrs. Hathaway,

      I’m quite certain that Adam meant no harm to your memory of your daughter. It is simply his thought that seven years old is too young to be able to withstand the pressures which she was subjected to. Surely we can agree that there are many adults who would find such a schedule too rigorous and fail to recognize their limits or the limits of Mother Nature until it was too late. Unfortunately for this little girl this failure quite possibly was responsible for her untimely death.

      At the same time I read with incredulity your idea that all children should be given 100% of the rights given to adults. I personally know that I myself was not mature enough at the age of 7 or even at 14 to make certain life decisions. This is why my parents were there to guide me, something which I’m certain you did with Jessica.

      What I can tell you from my personal experience is that VERY FEW young children have the maturity level to make proper decisions about possible life and death situations. As one part of a scuba diving instruction team it has been my pleasure (and my heart pounding fear) to be a part of training over 25 young people to scuba dive. Of those 25 only 14 were able to complete the basic requirements needed to go on to being PADI Junior Scuba Divers or PADI Junior Open Water Divers.

      I watched children make horrifying mistakes which in a true underwater environment would have killed them. Even ones at the end of their training were prone to forgetting all which was painstakingly taught to them through class instruction and then pool time with full suits. Of course there is the rare occasion when similar things happen with adults, but I’ve never seen an adult decide to “test” his gear underwater by turning his own air supply off (yes, this actually happened). Also when an adult makes a stupid mistake you can see their thought process and watch them remedy the situation for the good. Many of the children I’ve worked with simply don’t have the reasoning power to work their way out of these situations even though they’ve been trained what to do on each possible occasion, some of them actually panicked, which underwater can be a deadly situation not only for the child, but for anyone WITH that child.

      This is why the largest scuba diving organization in the world has put limits on the ages which a child is allowed to dive without a certified diving professional as well as depth restrictions which are relaxed as the child grows older.

      While I’m certain your daughter was a bright young girl, and I certainly respected her pluck and drive, I myself wondered about her ambitions quite possibly outweighing her capabilities. I have no doubt that she was capable of flying, even long distances, but at what point do you say that it is too much?

      In my opinion this is why the government puts age limits on certain privileges. Driving a car is such a privilege. I could operate a car at the age of 14, but in my state I was not allowed to pursue a driver’s license or even get behind the wheel of one on a street until I was 16. This is the law. It was made to keep me and children like me safer.

      The law of averages says that children are better capable of making proper decisions once they’ve reached a certain age. Are some capable of doing these things at a younger age? Yes. Are some of the 16 year olds behind the wheel today not mature enough to be driving? Yes. It works both ways, but a line must be drawn somewhere. Maybe you’re not happy with where this line is drawn, I certainly wasn’t as a 15 year old anxious to drive, but my family had instilled in me a respect for rules and regulations because it helps to keep other people safe as well as myself.

      What I will say next is going to sound harsh, but I feel it must be said. Thankfully your daughter’s pursuit of her dream didn’t result in the death of more people who had “inalienable rights” but were none the less innocent in her dreams and aspirations. Imagine if that plane had fallen into a busy mall and killed many more people.

      As for pursuit of happiness and rights guaranteed to ALL people. You should know that I am a lesbian and Adam is a gay man… both of us DENIED the right to marry a second person of a reasonable age simply because of gender. In fact until recently we would have been stripped of all these rights, at the very least being relegated to a mental hospital, and at the very most being killed for the “sin” of loving another human being, who might I add in my eyes was also guaranteed by the United States Constitution with the “rights, freedoms and liberties of all persons born” of which you speak. Not that I want to make this a post tearing apart semantics, I’m just saying that the government hasn’t always been on my “side” either. So much for my “pursuit of happiness” being guaranteed to everyone.

      All of what I have said should not lead you to believe that I am horribly callous, having no feelings regarding the loss a mother must feel for a child or a wife for a husband. I am very sorry for your loss and wish you the best in your course of healing.

      • koko

        Snooker has made some very good points. I am an advocate for children’s voices to be heard but there is a reason for limits and boundaries on children’s decisions. I would like to point out that these “rules” placed upon children or people under a certain age for a simple reason. A person as young as 7 or 16 does not have a fully developed brain. It takes many years for the neural connections to be made for critical thinking, fast decision making, abstract thinking, consequences of actions, etc. In fact there are many studies that show that there still parts of the brain forming and developing into the 20’s. Do not misinterpret my words. I am not saying Jessica or any person under the age of 21 is incapable of independent thinking or that they are somehow “stupid”. I am merely noting that the fine tuning of the brain is still taking place (especially before double digit ages).
        As many others on this blog have pointed out, at younger ages we would have made very different decisions compared to now. I also do not argue or intend to argue the intellectual abilities of Jessica. I’m sure she was a bright and talented individual—possibly well ahead of her peers. Certainly you can argue that some adults do not have refined thinking. I do not disagree. However, I believe that it does a disservice to people to allow them to grow up too quickly. Testing these boundaries at such young ages can have dire consequences. Sadly, I think Jessica and her family suffered the consequences of poor boundaries — if not from her parents or media but also from the pilot in command. I don’t care if she was pressured by family, media, or a greedy pilots need for 15 minutes of fame—or simply a small girl trying to live out her dream. I believe that it is not fair that someone so young had to suffer the consequences of some adult’s poor impulse control to take off during incredibly crappy weather. A law was placed to prevent other careless deaths—promoting the overall well-being of others. It was not meant to question the abilities of your bright and talented daughter. Ultimately, I bet it saved the life of some other young ambitious person who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jessica and fulfilling her dream.
        If you feel the need to argue with that then I have no empathy for you. If you were to do this all over again and allow Jessica to fly under those conditions then you’re a full-fledged nutter. Children’s voices and ideas need to be listened to and treated with respect. However, giving them full access to a world that they are not ready for is not only irresponsible but also asinine.

      • Thank you for your clear, well worded response. The Media had a field day with the information they created out of thin air and that fed off of their own creation. It’s no shock that people are misinformed. What is pressure to most people was not pressure to Jess. It was her flight which she could stop at anytime. Her Schedule was a tentative one. Jess had no problem talking to the media, they were simply people who wanted to know what was going on. It was no big deal. Jess loved to fly and had the personal power to re-choose at anytime without repercussions.

        I understand well about Scuba Diving the clear examples you gave. Remember, I did not put Jess on a plane by herself and send her out into the world to sink or swim. We found the soundest way possible for her to fly the route she chose, she was with people who had no problem stopping the entire flight in a moments notice. Emergency Landings were a regular part of her flight training. It was predetermined that Joe, the Pilot, would fly the plane back on his own if & when Jess said so.

        I know it is hard to comprehend a CHILD with neither parental nor peer pressure; who found joy in all that you call rigorous; who mastered what it took to accomplish this flight. None of the typical rules apply to a PERSON who is raised as she was raised.

        As a side note: My heart goes out to you regarding the restrictions made so that you were prevented you from marrying the person you love.

        Thank you for having this conversation with me.

        • Chad

          I surmise by the proclamation of being “queer”, etc. that the author is open minded.

          I too am open minded. I suppose I might be considered by some to be an oddity. I’m a practicing Christian heterosexual who chooses not to judge others. All of the wonderful people I worship with are the same. I’m very comfortable around gay people and I choose not to judge you for comments on Jess and the whole story. My life’s journey has taught me allot about accepting others as they are and the importance of withholding judgment.

          However, you’ve certainly at least felt what it was like to be wrongly judged by others. Please empathize with Jess’s family. Their decision to let Jess fly and pursue her goals was well thought out. They meant her no harm. Yes, they protected her; but, they simply never told her she was too young and that such ideas were relegated to mere dreaming.

          My challenge to anyone reading this blog is to be open minded and challenge the status quo. In this case, the status quo is to blame Lisa and say she was a bad mother. Look beyond popular opinion and read Lisa’s book. At least get another perspective before your render a judgment. There is always another side to a story. There really is a huge lesson for all of us to learn here. And it’s not about sheltering children and diminishing their ideas to dreams. It’s also not about being reckless with young lives.

          It’s about being open minded.

          I enjoy your blog and the opportunity to exchange viewpoints.

          Thank you very much for letting me place a comment here.

          • Well Said, I Thank you for your input. You summed it up very well when you said. “but, they simply never told her she was too young and that such ideas were relegated to mere dreaming”. “And it’s not about sheltering children and diminishing their ideas to dreams. It’s also not about being reckless with young lives”.

            I say to everyone here, that the PEOPLE we call CHILDREN are so much more than the body they wear. They have a soul to feed. It takes raising them with the highest degree of integrity and the greatest amount of honor while protecting, nurturing, honoring them without compromise to their Identical Rights and Freedoms. Lisa

  • Jul

    Adam: A seven-year-old should not have been allowed to fly a plane.


    I can’t wait to see what happens next…

    • Wow, so very much to respond to. I will begin here.

      I simply pointed out that we already know that future children will continue to die in Car Accidents. Yet, we still place children as safely as possible in our cars. Death cannot be ruled out wherever we go whether it is in a typical family car environment or in a flight in an aircraft where there are dual controls, dual pilots and so on. For you to ask me “Why do you want children to die in car accidents” does not fit in the example I gave. I recommend you read what I wrote again, for sure I did not say that I wanted that at all. I was comparing the fact that the public shows no outrage nor acts to prevent deaths we already know will continue to happen.

      Young Children, younger than Jess at 7, continue to sit in the pilot seat on the lap of their Pilot Mother or Pilot Father in this great nation of ours. The CHILD PILOT SAFETY ACT aka JESSICA DUBROFF BILL does not prohibit children from continuing to fly across this great nation of ours, it simply prohibits the intention of doing so for a record breaking attempt. The Bill made the public feel better and yet does not make flying any safer.

      Most of all, I am very grateful no one else was killed.

      Thank you for responding, Lisa

      • Dear Lisa,

        As the author and owner of this blog, I have a number of things to say: first, I am impressed that you continue to stand for what you believe in. It takes courage to actively promote the fact that you believe that children should have the same rights as adults, at least when it comes to flying.

        That said, I resent the implication of your statement:

        It is interesting that you have no stand against the death of children from car accidents which we can literally guarantee will continue to happen every single day throughout this great nation of ours.

        This is libel as it “is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents” me. I shouldn’t have to say this, but let me be absolutely, positively, clear on this: I am in favor of mandatory child seats for young and lightweight children and mandatory seat-belts for individuals of all ages. Any adult who allows any minor to ride without a seat-belt should be held accountable for their actions; and any driver who knowingly drives a car with any unbelted passengers should be punished.

        Additionally, I am strongly and vehemently opposed to children of any age on an aircraft not having a seat–in other words, parents who cannot afford to buy their babies a seat on an airplane should not be flying with their child. In the event of accidents and turbulence, things that are not secured will fly about the cabin–and should that thing be a baby, the baby can be severely injured, if not killed.

        I suppose I haven’t ever said the above two points explicitly, but since you have attempted to put words into my mouth, I feel compelled to do so at this juncture. Again, children should be protected to the fullest possible extent in automobiles and as passengers in aircraft, commercial and private.

        Finally, parents have the most important responsibility of all and one that most parents do not use often enough, and that is to say “No.” When a 7 year old child asks for the keys to the car, the answer is No. When a 7 year old asks to ride a roller coaster and the child is not tall enough, the answer is, No. When a 7 year old asks to eat nothing but Twinkies, the answer is No. When a 7 year old child asks to fly across the country in order to set the record of being the youngest “pilot” to ever fly across the country, the answer ought to be No.

        This might make me seem cruel and mean, but I think being a parent is about setting boundaries and encouraging appropriate development and encouraging appropriate growth, all while being safe.

        Sure you have to listen to your child–if your child wants to learn ballet and dance, instead of going boxing, be supportive, but when the child announces after a mere 35 hours of dance lessons that he’s going to appear on Dances with Stars, the correct answer is No.

        • Clearly, I see that I DID POINT YOU out when it was NOT MY INTENTION to single you out over others, LET ME CORRECT MY STATEMENT NOW: “It is interesting that the public has no stand against the death of children from car accidents which we can literally guarantee will continue to happen every single day throughout this great nation of ours” MEANING that no one is protesting children being placed into cars ON A DAILY BASIS in the face of knowing some will still die regardless of car seat.

          Naturally Everyone wants the highest level of safety for children in cars. And for sure for children to be in secured car seats, yet even with car seats we know that children will continue to die in cars is my point, regardless of all safety we continue to put into place. Most people do not refuse to place their children in a car even knowing these facts. Another known fact is that Flying is safer than driving a car even with dual controls.

          Thank you for bringing up this important point that singled you out and misrepresented you, a person I do not know.


          • You said: “I think being a parent is about setting boundaries and encouraging appropriate development and encouraging appropriate growth, all while being safe”

            According to Our U.S. Constitution and my own stand for Human Dignity First, We are accountable for so much more than the professional standards that most children are raised in here in America.

            I know that MOST PEOPLE have a belief that I raised Jess to be an ADULT instead of raising her to be a CHILD, I did neither. I raised her to be the PERSON she already was with all of her rights and freedoms in place. That is exactly what I am accountable for.


      • Jul

        I wasn’t asking you a question; I was merely paraphrasing the conversation thus far (focusing on the ridiculous conclusion you had made about Adam’s beliefs).

        Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get drunk with some 4-year-olds.

  • I think parents should give children the right to grow into the adults they were meant to be, not thrust them into adulthood by having them perform adult activities like driving cars, piloting planes, drinking alcohol, getting married, voting, etc. There’s a reason laws are in place against that and a lot of it has to do with a child’s underdeveloped emotional and cognitive abilities. They’re kids. Let them be.

  • J

    Well, that was an entertaining comment.

    “Yet, the FACT is that as a U.S. Citizen from birth Jess had every right to live fully until she died and your personal opinions can’t change Our U.S. Constitution that honors and protects the rights, freedoms and liberties of “ALL PERSONS BORN”.”

    I suppose that this means seven year olds should be allowed to drink alcohol and do drugs, since they have “every right to live fully” if they want because the word “fully” is very subjective.

    So, Ian and other parents, let your young children booze and shoot up so that you’re not among those who “illegally raise your children without the rights your children were literally born with.”

    • What makes you think that a CHILD would want to drink, do drugs and so on. The only reality that is being responded to here is the belief that a CHILD is chomping at the bit to do all of the above mentioned things just because they are a CHILD.

      A person with their freedoms lived does not have to prove anything. It is often the case that CHILDREN who have their rights withheld from them turns to the above mentioned choices in reaction to their confined situation.

      The key piece that I say is not being heard here is that CHILDREN ARE BEING RAISED at the same time which means a lot more is taking place that simply honoring their freedoms.


  • shadowboxer

    I agree with Ms. Hathaway. Statutory Rape laws should be repealed!!!! Everyone, no matter the age, should be able to pursue happiness. Give me a break.

    • Rape is a violation at every age. It’s unfortunate that jumping to conclusions is prevalent here.

      • shadowboxer

        The common law definition of rape contains the terms “non-consensual” and “slightest penetration”. Based on the jurisdiction, there will be additional terms, but those two are relatively universal. However, when you add the word “statutory” to the word “rape”, those traditional terms no longer hold. The term “statutory” can mean “consensual” or “non-consensual,” since the term is now defined by a legislative body. When we use the term “statutory rape” in the U.S., it means that certain conduct, no matter how willingly participated in, will be deemed rape. This means that a willing 7 year old can have sex with a 25 year old, but society deems this so heinous that it will consider that act to be rape. There was no “violation” against the will of the 7 year old, rather it is simply society looking out for those that may need a little help with making decisions. Fortunately the parents cannot consent to this act so in essence society is also protecting the little ones from their parents as well.

  • […] That said, while working for Sagebrush News, a newspaper distributor, the owner would occasionally pay for me to drive to Denver and work on the weekends—which I might note explains why I was driving to Denver the day that Jessica Dubroff had her plane accident. […]

  • Jul

    I had never heard of this girl-flying-plane story before this post, so I did a little googling to get the back story. I was amused to learn that Mrs. Hathaway is a member of the Republican teabagging movement (which I originally learned about from Rachel Maddow).

    • So you know, Tea Party Persons are Republican, Democrat and Independents AS WELL AS none of the above who stand by Our Founding Fathers Original Documents which made this country great. It is a bi-partisan effort. If you think otherwise, I recommend you listen to Glenn Beck on Fox News to get accurate news. I am happy to Tea Party, just as you may be happy not to Tea Party. To each his own.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpZ0vaAwTtU&feature=related

      Aside from your choice of links that with Great Humor MISSES the Tea Party Point altogether, Here’s a link to make clear who Tea Party’s. Your Opposition to Tea Partying is more than welcome, Your misrepresentation of it is uncalled for. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

      • Jul

        I like how you’re calling me out for ‘misrepresentation’ of something or other while at the same time touting Glenn Beck and Fox News as sources of ‘accurate news’. You’re totally tickling my funny bone. And making me sad for the future of America.

        And if we really want to get into a discussion of things which are ‘uncalled for’, I’ll go ahead and nominate your wanton disregard for the rules of capitalization.

        • My Disregard for Rules of Capitalization is Personal Choice. Our Disagreement about which news is accurate still stands. The Fox News Link I provided above accurately portrays Tea Parties as Non_Partisan and is 100 Accurate as their other news continues to be. Rachel Maddow’s Link that you so generously provided, was entertaining and simply not accurate about who Tea Parties nor their purpose in doing so. My point being is that Tea Bagging is not a Republican Movement.

        • Oh my gawd Jul!
          You made me snort my espresso.
          Thanks for the linky on old Glen Beck.
          Wow, I went away for a while and look what happened to this little topic.

  • J

    Thanks for the link, Jul.

    It made me realise how ‘special’ Fr B-H is.

  • J

    Actually, I’ve misspoken (adam, why can’t we delete our comments?). From her first post, I realized that we had a fanatic on our hands and Jul’s links just let me solidify my opinion.

    • It is interesting that you would call me a fanatic yet somehow you are not. We simply have different views about what matters.

    • J, it is my general policy to never delete or edit comments on my blog. I would do it under extraordinary unusual circumstances — alas, this doesn’t qualify. I’ve only made such an offer once to a deranged lunatic who was having trouble with CAPTCHA codes that were running under the Moveable Type version of this site. Because he got frustrated he ended up posting several rants against me–some appeared, some got swallowed into the moderating process–and unless comments are commercial spam, I let them through. Commercial spam is deleted without publication.

      As for the subject of this post, I’m in the process of thinking of my response. There is so much to respond to here, but I want to make sure it is coherent and well formulated before I post it. It will probably appear sometime tonight.

      • Yes Adam, there is still much to debate. It’s clearly your call whether you want that to happen here on your blog or not. I know that if we stayed in the conversation long enough, common ground would show itself. Yet, that may not be to everyone’s liking. As messy as it is, Thank you for giving us room to get this far. Lisa

  • J

    Adam, re: “I do hope that you’ll make a post about why they are significant to you”

    I did actually mean afterwards.

  • I am a personal friend of a (then) young man who gained some notoriety in the press (as far away as Japan) back in the 1980’s when he flew his plane from his home to school. The big difference in this scenario is that he was of legal age to obtain a STUDENT pilot license, something your daughter had not reached the legal age to obtain.

    Your comparison of your daughter piloting an aircraft and your being upset that most of the people here advocating she should not have been, vs. saying that we should all be for disallowing children to ride in cars because we are saying Jessica should not have been piloting, is ludicrous.


    Children ride in cars and airplanes all the time, however, THEY ARE NOT LICENSED TO PILOT OR DRIVE THOSE VEHICLES.

    I’ve spent many hours flying in similar aircraft as that which your daughter was piloting. Most 7-year olds lack the capacity to fix a chain on their bicycle, much less pilot an incredibly complex machine such as an airplane, no matter how incredibly bright they may be. It doesn’t matter how smart Jessica was, she should never have been allowed to operate that incredibly complex piece of machinery regardless of how well she understood how it worked.

    There were better ways to encourage your daughters intellect and creativity without endangering the lives of the general public by allowing her to operate an aircraft, no matter how technically legal it was at the time. The reason there was no law against it at the time is because most people using common sense wouldn’t have thought there was a need to write that law. After all, who would be so foolish as to allow an adolescent to pilot an airplane? Just because something is technically legal, doesn’t mean a person should lose their grasp of common sense and do it.

    It’s legal to jump off a cliff, would you have advocated Jessica do that?

    I also used to work in the media and I know quite well the media has two things that make it exist: 1. Money from advertising revenue or other revenue streams, and 2. The ability to draw attention whores and those people seeking their 15-minutes of fame for interviews.

    Unfortunately it seems like you and your family were part of the second item, and sadly it cost a few lives, including your daughter.

    • A Student Pilot License is not necessary since Jess was piloting an airplane with a Licensed Pilot next to her with full access to Dual Controls. Jess was not seeking a License at that time, she was seeking Valuable Pilot Instruction.

      You say that it doesn’t matter how smart she was nor how well she understood an incredibly complex piece of machinery, regardless of how well she understood how it worked”, then the only factor that seems important to you is that her chronological age was 7 Years Old and not about her Flight Lessons, Her Knowledge, Her Mastery at the Controls, Her Mastery during Intentional Emergency Landings and all the rest. With your preferences, no matter what Jess could have and did put into place so that Piloting an airplane was a sound choice for her, still doesn’t cut it, for she should have pursued something that YOU CONSIDER far more fitting as a person of 7 and this is where we differ. People who knew Jess saw the fit. Pilots who knew her saw the fit. There are definitely some people of all ages that I would not support piloting an airplane even though it’s legal to do so and yet they are not a person I am raising.

      As far as my comparison with the Children RIDING in Cars as Passengers, my point continues to be lost for that conversation is all over the map and not understood at all. It was obviously not a well-made point by me.

      Your bringing up the Media and what makes it exist, Wow, now that’s a topic for much debate.

      • Ms. Hathaway, you say to me, “…then the only factor that seems important to you is that her chronological age was 7 Years Old and not about her Flight Lessons, Her Knowledge, Her Mastery at the Controls, Her Mastery during Intentional Emergency Landings…”

        At the risk of being cruel, it seems your 7-year old daughter mastered all the emergency landings except the most crucial one.

        You’ve made my own point for me. Thank you.

        • We Agree, You are “Absolutely Correct than neither my daughter of 7 years, nor her Certified Flight Instructor mastered their last Emergency Landing. To the degree that it was possible for them to control a plane nose diving to the ground, it is clear that great effort was put into place so that no one else on the ground was hurt or killed in the process.

    • You say: “There were better ways to encourage your daughters intellect and creativity without endangering the lives of the general public by allowing her to operate an aircraft, no matter how technically legal it was at the time.” You should know that I was not encouraging my daughters intellect nor her creativity by locating the perfect Certified Flight Instructor and setting up appointments for her to fly. I was honoring “her” request to take Flight Lessons with a Certified Flight Instructor by her side. It was her call, It was her interest and It was her decision what she took interested in. I was accountable for finding a sound way for her to master what she wanted to master. The fact that Jess was killed during a flight, in a aircraft she was piloting with her Certified Flight Instructor beside her is obviously very clear to me. Still she had the right to master that aircraft in the soundest possible way.

  • disenchanted

    Holy cow! There are a lot of comments here — so many, I’m almost afraid to add my own. That said, I wonder if a seven year old has enough “agency” to make adult decisions (as argued – both for and against), then why should we have a juvenille justice system in America?

    • You Say; “I wonder if a seven year old has enough “agency” to make adult decisions (as argued – both for and against), then why should we have a juvenille justice system in America?

      We have a Juvenile Justice System in America for the sole purpose of correcting the huge injustice of raising our children as we “Traditionally do” here in America. There are home environments that are similar to running a Mini-Penal System in their own home in order to keep their children in line. Children are not born criminals, Criminals are made.

      As far as having enough Agency to make Adult Decisions, rarely is a PERSON we call a CHILD raised to actually make decisions great or small, since decisions are made for them by their parents which I am sure that’s how most people want it. Yet, in raising a person, we are accountable for them making their own decisions and them having the where with all to do so well.

  • Lisa,

    You’ve made a number of points that are problematic. Unfortunately I do not have enough time to identify all of the problems but I will make a valiant attempt at identifying some of them.

    Before I go further, you said “My Disregard for Rules of Capitalization is Personal Choice.” I will agree wholeheartedly, but as somebody who worries about how information is being communicated and the optimal ways to do it in multiple cultures, playing with the rules of capitalization is not for amateurs. It is, in fact, grammar rules, spelling, and capitalization should rarely be violated—and only for emphasis.

    I would also recommend that you hire a professional editor; Quality editing will help you sharpen your communication skills as well as catch embarrassing (potentially libelous) mistakes like the one where you accuse me of taking no stand against the death of children in automobiles. In your case, a bit of judicious editing to your original comment would have been quite helpful. You could also take a writing class at a local community college—writing skills are often overlooked, but good writing skills can take you far.

    Now, to the point that you and I have centered our conversation on—children in cars versus children being pilots. Unfortunately you are not making the correct comparison. Children are passengers in cars, not the drivers. American society has deemed that children, by law, must be in child safety seats (until an appropriate height/weight), and, otherwise, must wear seatbelts. I think, despite what you claim, that society has made it pretty clear that children are to be protected when travelling in automobiles. Further American society has stated that individuals under the age of 16 are not to have driver’s licenses or to drive, except under some very specific circumstances.

    To the best of my knowledge not one of those circumstances extends to allowing a 7 year old the opportunity to ever drive cars, except for bumper cars at the amusement park.

    Considering that driving a car is a considerably simpler exercise than piloting a plane—even a Cessna, it is completely reasonable that in American society, 7 year olds should not be piloting airplanes.

    Meanwhile you say that Jessica had the freedom to change the schedule of her flying, if she wanted. Perhaps nominally, but I suspect she felt intense pressure to get to Fort Wayne in order to make the next media appointment. 7 year olds want to please their parents/guardians/love ones – instinctively. At 7 I didn’t always have the ability to tell my parents or teachers “no”. I was in the 2nd grade! I lacked the perspective and ability to know what was best for me. Looking back at the 7 year old me, I’m grateful that my parents made me brush my teeth, made me go to school, and made me take medicine when I was ill.

    I survived—I might have wanted other things—rotted teeth, to hang out at the playground all day, and to have the world’s worst diarrhea, but thanks to my strong willed, correcting, parents, who often said “No,” I lived.

    And now that I am an adult, I have fond memories of my childhood. Going to the park with the big dinosaur. My teddy bear. Going to the zoo—specifically spitting watermelon seeds while taking a zoo class.

    One of the things I am most grateful for, as an adult, is that my parents did not live vicariously through me—they set up safe parameters; said “No”, when they had to, and let me safely explore the things that interested me. There were few specific pressures; I had to learn how to play the piano, but after it was apparent that I am tone deaf, that went away.

    Meanwhile, you have conspicuously avoided addressing the issue of agency raised by “disenchanted”. Why does the US have a juvenile justice system, when, by your account children are actually adults and should have the freedom to do whatever they want? It seems to me that if your 7 year old can pilot a plane, then she should also stand trial for other crimes, if she was accused of them.

    Now for some other points.

    First, Fox News is a television channel you should avoid—actually all television news is relatively poor, with The Daily Show and the Cobert Report on Comedy Central having the best content. There was a survey of adults who were asked facts—undisputable facts—about current events, and “respondents with the least correct answers, on the other hand, were more likely to watch the right-wing Fox News cable channel, local television news, or the major television network morning news programmes.” Learn more.

    Second, most Teabaggers are people who are either racists or opposed to paying taxes, or both. I will assume that you are not racist, but rather feel that any taxation is illegitimate. If this is the case, let me point out that your tax dollars pay for a lot of things that you use every day: roads, schools (k-12, colleges, universities), aviation (even general aviation—via the FAA and NTSB), the US Postal Service, and so many things that I couldn’t begin to come up with a coherent or complete list.

    If you were to try and cut out everything that US tax dollars have helped create, you would probably have to leave the United States—and live in a homemade wooden shack without electricity, telephone service, the Internet, or windows. The fact is that if the US Government is not directly involved in offering a service, it is probably indirectly responsible for funding the research into the science behind everyday objects—and this fact is true no matter where in the world you live. (That windshield in front of you when you drive? Made, in part, from minerals mined from US government owned land. And that baking soda you’re using? Also made, in part, from minerals mined from US government owned land—land that nobody claimed.)

    I’ve yet to actually hear/see a rational argument explaining Teabagging that makes sense—there always seems to be an intense anti-government anger behind it. Maybe I happen to believe that, in general, government and all the services it provides, is a good thing.

    • Will you kindly show me a Racist Tea Bagger. I have yet to see or hear of or meet one. I, myself, love that we have a person of color with his beautiful family in Our Nation’s White House. What does not work for me is the fact that Our 44th President is making choices that do not honor the very Oath of Office that he himself verbally tripped over. His job is to Defend and Protect Our U.S. Constitution instead he ignores it. His job is to keep us free, not to keep us safe. Everything that has made American Great & Free has to do with honoring our U.S. Constitution.

      Not to worry, I have many other posts to respond to. I have no intention of leaving any unturned. We will continue to disagree, We have that right.

    • Tea Baggers are not Anti-Government. We are Anti-Socialist Government. We are also Anti-BIG Government and so were Our Founding Fathers.

    • Fox News is a LIFE LINE to True Americans who stand for Our U.S. Constitution as it was written and the Honorable Intentions behind it.

    • I am happy for you, that you are grateful for how you were raised and the fond memories that you have of growing up with Parents that were willing to say NO whether you liked it or not. I am very familiar with this type of American Style Upbringing.

      As the mother of Jess and Knowing what I was accountable for in raising Jess a full-fledged person at birth, who was also a U.S. Citizen, I found all honorable ways to communicate so that Jess decided what was a genuine yes and what was a genuine no “for her” with my full backing. This meant her having far greater knowledge available to her in order to make her choices. I made no commands of her, I made requests and she chose for herself. My purpose in not making commands of her was, I had no right to. Parents are not accountable for controlling their children, they are accountable for raising them. Jess was a human being here to be raised with Human Dignity for the person that she was.

      You say that “You Survived”, and clearly you have. Yet, Jess got to live her whole life even though she was killed in a plane crash when she was on her 7th year, in a plane that she was piloting with her Certified Flight Instructor next to her and her father behind her.

    • I quote you here: “Perhaps nominally, but I suspect she felt intense pressure to get to Fort Wayne in order to make the next media appointment. 7 year olds want to please their parents/guardians/love ones – instinctively.”

      Parental Pressure & Peer Pressure is not a reality people are born with, It is something taught by parents who can’t imagine raising their children without instilling Parental Pressure along with their Parental Control. It is clearly not instinct to want to please. Yet, in America with the way we raise children it certainly seems like it would be instinctive from the fact that as creative and as different as parents are, most parents raise their children under some form of parental control.

      It mattered to me that Jess got to live her life her way. The 7 Year Olds you reference who “instinctively” want to please their parents, et al were simply taught to please. Jess was raised to make choices that worked for her, that honored her, that sat well for her. She was clear that If I or her father or anyone made a request of her that did not work for her, for her not to honor it and that we would back her 100% in her choice. She also knew well that neither her father or I had the right to make commands of her. She also knew that in order to reach her, it had to be through all honorable means.

      As far as the media was concerned, Jess had no problem talking to the Media. They were simply people who wanted to know what was going on. Where the media was going to be was not our call. They instead wanted to know where Jess would be. We gave some of them a tentative schedule of what we knew so far. The media were giving us their cards and their numbers which is normal for the media. The media was wrapped up in their own hype. The media asked questions, then walked away and did what they wanted with it. So the intense pressure you suspect simply did not exist. People who knew her, knew that. They were awed by her personal power to be herself. People from many different walks of life had children and grand children who did not show up in life as Jess did. They were not raised as she was raised is my point.

    • I am not here to please you with my writing skills. Nor to hide behind grammar in order to look good on paper just for you. There are parts of Grammar that are priceless, and then there are parts of grammar that simply get in the way. Did you know that, “We the People, By the People, For the People” is grammatically incorrect and would not pass a grammar test.

    • You Say: “Why does the US have a juvenile justice system, when, by your account children are actually adults and should have the freedom to do whatever they want? It seems to me that if your 7 year old can pilot a plane, then she should also stand trial for other crimes, if she was accused of them”.

      I did not say nor have I ever said that Children are actually adults. I honor people of all ages as people. The PEOPLE we call CHILDREN “do” have the freedom to do whatever they want as we do, yet since I am raising a PERSON that I am instinctively and fully accountable for raising, then it matters to me that my child be successful unto themselves. I was accountable for raising Jess with what it takes to keep her Identical Rights, Freedoms, Liberties and Sovereignty. All of which are removed as stated in Our U.S. Constitution if a crime has been committed.

      • Lisa,

        Let me make a couple of general points. I suspect you won’t be satisfied with my comments, but ultimately we will have to agree to disagree.

        First, with respect to writing skills: I’m in the unusual position of writing in English for audiences across multiple English speaking cultures and for English as a Second Language communities originating from German, French, Portuguese, and Dutch speaking countries. Since the ultimate goal is to communicate information, I write clearly using consistent grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules (British, Canadian, American, or even South African), even if they are not the ones that I grew up with.

        Ultimately I’m in favor of violating the rules, occasionally, and making new rules–but I do it rarely. When I break the rules it signals the reader that something serious is happening and this is a point that is especially important.

        Constantly violating rules signals something else.

        Secondly, I’m not going to address the Teabagging issue any more. I’ve had a super busy week at work, and I have two projects that need completion in the next week, plus a much larger project that needs much attention as soon as the first two projects are complete. Responding to this particular issue takes too much time away from the work projects.

        Thirdly, I want you to get a glimpse into the variety of news sources that I take in every week: The New York Times (via website), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation World at Six (via podcast), The Economist (via magazine), The Denver Post (via website), Casper Star-Tribune (via website), The Guardian (via website), the BBC (RSS News Feed), Slog (Seattle news/commentary via web), Indianapolis Star (via web), and On The Media (via podcast). I don’t rely upon just one source, but a variety.

        Fourthly, I want to continue to emphasize that I regret your daughter’s death at the helm of that Cessna back in 1996. It is regrettable that she died and I hope that no mother ever has to go through the untimely death of a child. For me it’s always a great tragedy when somebody so young dies in an accident. I know that you would let your daughter make the trip all over again, if you could go back in time–but I hope that at least we can agree that your daughter’s memory should not be lost, even if we disagree about the specific consequences.

        • Your 4 points were wonderfully made.

          (1) I salute your high respect for grammar and the value it has in communicating to the people in which you write for. Obviously, I do not share the same respect yet I definitely, genuinely honor your choice to honor it to the letter.

          (2) Tea Bagging no longer has to be clarified and did not belong here to begin with.

          (3) I thank you for sharing the variety of news sources you value for gathering information, it was kind of you to do so.

          (4) Most of all, my honoring my daughter Jess while alive continues still now that she is dead. Thank you for caring that her memory should live on in the face of our disagreement on the specifics.

          Your post honored you, it honored me and brought nothing but clarity to the table for all of this, I Thank You.


  • J

    “Fox News is a LIFE LINE to True Americans who stand for Our U.S. Constitution as it was written and the Honorable Intentions behind it.”

    Ah! This says a lot.

    • Yes, It actually does say a lot. It says a lot about me. It’s says a lot about you. To each his own.

      Since I am a Tea Bagger, I am simply clarifying the incorrect comments that have been posted here. I have no intention of talking you into being a Tea Bagger. Nor to deny that I am one. The comments made here about who Tea Bags and the purpose behind it is important to correct so that when you bash myself and/or the Fox News Station that accurately reports Tea Bagging, You will be able to defend your personal preferences with far greater accuracy which is your right.

  • I think we should stop feeding this troll.

    Clearly the only opinion in this that matters is her own. Contrary to the fact that everyone else that has wandered into this thread has been 100% against her point of view.

    I could answer her political issues that are being drug into this, but that wasn’t the point of this entry to begin with, it was about the plane crash.

    This is the last I’m saying about anything here. Ms. Hathaway shouldn’t take that as any sort of victory, I simply refuse to have this discussion with someone so far removed from reality and common sense.

    • Jul

      I agree. I’m having a better argument with the dining room table.

    • You Said: “I could answer her political issues that are being drug into this, but that wasn’t the point of this entry to begin with, it was about the plane crash.”

      May I remind you that one of you “drug the political issues in”. I have no problem with your opposing views except on the inaccurate points such as who tea bags. Tea Bagging and Tea Baggers were misrepresented here on this page by someone else WHO CHOSE TO bring it up. Since I appear to be the only tea bagger here, I clarified. I am not hear to agree with you and you are not here to agree with me. Yet, your accusations fly in as fast as you can type and I respond. It is ridiculous to think that I would remain silent at what has been said here.

    • You Said: “Clearly the only opinion in this that matters is her own. Contrary to the fact that everyone else that has wandered into this thread has been 100% against her point of view.”

      It is clear that people here cared about Jess from the fact that she was a child, yet it just may be that the people here just don’t care how she was raised from the fact that kids will be kids and no one can change that nor their nature as a child. Yet who she chose to be and how she was raised to raise herself are all key points here in showing that kids are kids from the fact that we cornered them into not being able to be themselves. People of all ages show up different when their rights and freedoms are denied and they are treated without the Human Dignity of being an equal. The reality of the Seven Year Old People that you know, including yourselves cannot be accurately compared to Jess. Your point of view is valuable to hear and yet has no bearing on who Jess chose to be in this world. That’s where my telling like it is is crucial here for you to understand.

    • You say: “This is the last I’m saying about anything here. Ms. Hathaway shouldn’t take that as any sort of victory, I simply refuse to have this discussion with someone so far removed from reality and common sense.”

      I do take it as a victory. Perhaps I am getting to close to having you hear me. However, the ultimate victory is to have you stay in the conversation until we both agree to disagree rather than anyone going off half cocked from not liking what they read.

      My reality is definitely not your reality and there’s no reason that it should be. I base my choices on a completely different set of values, such as the Unconditional Love for my daughter, Human Dignity First, Our U.S. Constitution, etc.

      The tyranny that most children are raised in, right here in America is taking it’s toll on our nations children and we all chalk up their reactions to “Kids just being Kids” when instead the only problem Children really have is with “Parents Being Parents” and missing the mark all the way.

      I invite you to stay in the conversation. I also honor that you don’t choose to be here. Some of you here have hit below the belt for whatever purpose, as I continue to come back for more to correct the rampant information that misportrays who the PEOPLE we call CHILDREN really are.

  • J

    Yep, I agree with cq and jul.

    • “Yep, I agree with cq and jul.” – J

      So do I, but I do have several more comments.
      I guarantee that the writers of the much beloved United States Constitution and Bill of Rights not only were raised by parents who lived by the saying “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, but also raised their own children in the same way. If one believes this assertion, then one can also say that America was founded on the principal that a child must be nurtured and raised into a proper adult yet held to understand that there are limitations to their rights.

      And just because I’m feeling smart assed today:
      Going out on an edge here (but let’s face it, Jessica’s mother lives on a special kind of edge every day).
      I wonder how Jessica’s mother would have felt if Jessica had lived through the crash yet had been held responsible (no matter how indirectly) for the deaths of the pilot and her own father. Then faced with murder charges at the ripe old age of 7, charged as an adult, and sent to prison (with adults of course, because she is ready for that, right?) for the rest of her life.

      I will wholeheartedly agree to disagree with you, Ms Hathaway. You and I do not see eye to eye on the “raising” of children at all. You will never talk me into drinking the kool-aid which allowed you to believe that allowing a 2nd grader (that hit me hard when I realized the GRADE this child was in) to do whatever she may please simply because of your view that she has the right and full understanding of possible circumstances.

      I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.
      In most American States you have to have a license to have a dog, but any crazed individual can have a kid.

      As for teabagging. I happen to know some people affiliated with the movement. We don’t agree, but we were taught as children to respect the ideas of others, so we deal with our differences as adults. When Googling their names I NEVER find them listed anywhere showing their affiliation. In the back of my head I am beginning to believe that Jessica’s mother is still searching for that fame in any way possible.

      Now I will let you get back to watching your beloved FOX News.

      • It was not my intention to talk you into anything nor would I want anyone here to leave your values nor ignore your common sense. I was making it clear what Our U.S. Constitution says and who it backs and how I took all of that honorable information & more and raised my daughter as a full-fledged person with all of her constitution rights, freedoms, liberties and sovereignty in place. I also made it clear that all parents of U.S. Children are accountable for doing the exact same thing each in their own way and that not doing so is completely illegal to say the least. Naturally there is disagreement to something so incomprehensible to Parents Today at the very thought of it.

        I fully understand the outrage and the deep fear it raises for Parents to hear me say all that I have, in the face of having my precious daughter killed in a flight she was piloting at the age that she was. Of course what I say is going to sound off to everyone here. As much as we disagree, I know I am Constitutionally Correct, Morally Correct, Legally Correct, Humanely Correct and so on.

        What started my posting here was in response to the false accusations made. Naturally, I clarified and Naturally you disagreed. I did not intend for anyone to agreed. I intended to be heard knowing disagreement would prevail and it has and that’s how it should be since we each have free will.

        I am clear that laws were put into place to protect the PEOPLE we call CHILDREN from being taken advantage of on many levels and yet, that is my job to preempt such things and to show such great respect for my daughter that she would in turn have great respect for herself, her person, her body, her thoughts, her values and so on and in turn she did just that. My sharing and discussing with my daughter what I am accountable for as her mother as I did, which includes what is honorable and what is not, what is taking advantage of another at every age and what is not and so on, equally had great value.

        Jess did not do whatever “she pleased” in the tone I suspect you used. She made choices based on what honored her and what she placed high value on. She sought mastery in flight from the fact that she loved everything about the subject of flight long before she flew.

        Thank you for choosing to post. Lisa

  • Chad

    Lisa – I stand with you always.

    I’m no smarter than anyone else; but, I am enlightened by your perspective on Jess.

    It’s actually a simple concept in your book. I’m amazed at your strength and composure in the face of such harshness and pre-judgment that has been lobbed at you.

    You are a mother that lost her daughter; yet, you have found lessons in your tragedy that we can all learn from – as long as we are willing to listen and open our minds.

    One of my dear friends recently lost his 21 year old daughter who was pregnant with his grandchild to an unexpected and sudden illness. Then, as if his world was not disrupted enough, he lost his wife of 30 years to a drunk driver. He’s also someone I desperately want to learn from.

    People like you that have suffered unimaginable loss are my heroes. You have faced my worst nightmare and not only survived it; but, also made sure that the story was shared so that others may benefit.

    I call on everyone to please back off with your attacks on Lisa. Can you please recognize that she carried Jess in her body, gave birth to her and loved her dearly? Do you gain anything by being angry and mean to her? Can you not open your mind and imagine for one minute what it’s taken for her to survive this?

    Forgive me please, but I can not get my mind around the concept of a person that may very well have been judged wrongly for his sexual orientation doing the same to someone else. Please be more accepting and less judgmental. She lost her child – show some respect here!

    If Lisa was here with me right now I wouldn’t even be able to talk over my tears. I hope I meet Lisa in person one day. But, I won’t be able to talk at first because of my emotions. I can hardly think about it without crying. When I visit the crash with a friend and I try to tell them what happened, I can’t. I really feel allot of compassion for everyone involved.

    Please open your mind and show Lisa some compassion. That’s the least she deserves. It’s O.K. to disagree; but, it’s not O.K. to attack!

    God bless you Lisa! I’m with you all the way!

    • Chad,

      I am not asking for respect, compassion nor for more verbal slights or attacks. I deserve no protection when in their hearts they think I’ve done a great disservice to Jess. The reality that most people have been raised in, warrants their attacks. They know no different for they think they are in the right about “kids being kids”. Every Professional would still agree with them.

      Yet, I know the magnificence of the PEOPLE we call CHILDREN. I’ve seen it and it’s beautiful. I also know their Identical Rights and what we as parents are accountable for in raising a child who is also a U.S. Citizen. Everything I am talking about honors children and means far more accountability & service from Parents to their children. Very few parents want to hear of being in service to their children, never mind have an open mind.

      Most of all, only good will come of these conversations. Thank you for reading my book and for your non-judgmental views.


  • Chad

    It’s so easy to get hooked on the kool-aid the media puts out everyday. I just refuse to have my mind shaped but and electronic screen, be it a TV or a computer. I like to think that there’s alway another way of looking at something. So, I dig and try to resolve issues for myself. It’s so easy these days to just let our minds be filled with whatever is popular. It’s hard to ignore those drum beats – they are pretty loud; but, there’s always two sides to a story.

    I’m simply encouraging people to open their mind and try to see another point of view.


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  • Lita Greoire

    Adam I hope this is worded well enough not to shock your delicate, fragile mind.



    • Hi Lita,

      In the time since I’ve approved adding your comment to the blog, I’ve considered the implications of your well thought out, kindly worded, Christ-like, and friendly comment.

      However really acknowledging what you’ve said might require me to change the level of discourse to a level at which you’d be more comfortable as well as make me violate the general rules about manners on the Internet where writing things in all capitalized letters is generally considered to be a rude form of shouting.

      If you would be so kind as to provide proof from this blog post and the subsequent comments that I made on this blog post (and not from comments made by readers like you) of the claims you make about me, I would appreciate it. For the record I count 9 specific claims: I am (1) pompous; (2) egocentric; (3) self absorbed; (4) ass; (5) knowing me is “totally painful”; (6) that I have a “sanctimonious personality”; (7) that I am bitter; (8) that I am nasty; and (9) condesending (sic).

      Really, I think that only one of these can can be substantiated with ease. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which.

    • Jul

      Oh Lita, as someone who actually knows Adam, I can only congratulate you for hitting the nail on the head. Your insight into your fellow man is uncanny, and I am so happy that you are using this tremendous gift to spread truth around the internet. Please continue.

      As opposed to Adam, you come off as a completely delightful person, someone who is in absolutely no way pompous, self-absorbed, sanctimonious, nasty, condescending, or bitter. Kudos again.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the egocentric comment was actually Ms. Hathaway using an alias. *shrugs*

      • It’s not me. What I am trying to get clear on is what Lita’s Purpose is in posting her rant to Adam on this page regarding Jess. Remember, when I have something to say, I say it in a style you would all recognize. From what I remember this is Adam’s Blog right. Lita could have posted anywhere. So Lita, Show yourself. If you have the Etheric Balls to show up and rant “out of the blue about nothing at all”, then I invite you to do so somewhere else or remain and finish your piece by actually communicating. Lisa, Jessica’s Mother

        • I’ll take my lumps and stand corrected on this point. Though I disagree with Ms. Hathaway on several things, it’s clear I’m wrong on the alias. So apologies to her for that.

      • As Lisa’s posted, there might not be need for this, but I want to make clear that in no way do I believe that Lita Greoire is Lisa Blair Hathaway. The writing styles are too dramatically different, and whilst it is possible for somebody to alter their writing style that much, it is highly unlikely. Really only professional writers can do it and it takes a lot of practice to get good at it.

  • Reko

    A word which in its literal meaning denotes the female genitalia comes to mind in relation to “Lita”

  • Reko

    For the record, Adam is one of the most wonderful, kind, thoughtful, and humble (to the point of being self-effacing) human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. “Lita,” well, not so much.

  • Reko

    I also note that “Lita” has a way of bringing out the worst in me with her evil and inflammatory rhetoric.

  • J

    Adam, I think that Lita’s comment should be made comment of the year.

    • J, great idea. I’ve made it a Notable Comment and it’s featured in one of my sidebars for everybody to see.

      I’m a bit sad because I feel that the world may never know who she is–I think she misspelled her last name because when I googled it, no hits came up! Schade! There are also no hits for her name (other than my blog) on Y! or bing!

  • Wow! I go “off the grid” for a few days and look what happens.
    Gosh Adam, WHAT did you do to piss off the crazy lady?

    Heck, if she figured all that out after one post, she’s got more talent than most. It usually takes people meeting me in person before they decide that I have a condesendng (sic) attitude, or that knowing me is painful.

    • I hate knowing myself–I totally find it painful. I’d do something about knowing myself, but I hate pain, even though it’s already totally painful to be myself.

    • Travis

      You do realize, that the pilot whom had preceded your daughter for youngest pilot to cross the US killed herself 2 years ago, right?

      You seem to disagree with the idea of children’s books, but I have to ask why. I specifically remember the day I learned what an exclamation point was from a children’s book. I was probably a little younger than Jess.

      I do think it’s a good idea for children to be treated equally, but if she was your equal, why was it that you and your husband paid for her flying lessons? Why didn’t she do it? She could fly a plane at 7, why not get a job?

      And you obviously understand very little about psychology, if you don’t think that there is a peer pressure mentality among children as they are born. When you’re young, your parents are supposed to be perfect. You were probably perfect to Jess. And it had nothing to do with the situations you put her in or how you brought her up, it’s because she could identify you as being her mother. You took care of her. She learned things from you (whether you think you taught her or not).

      Considering that you believe in a God, I’m sure it won’t be hard to make you appreciate how much you want to please a perfect being who cares for you.

      I know that you probably can’t appreciate how Jess felt, after knowing how much you spent on her plane, instructors, etc, and I say that I know because of the articles I’ve read before. Supposedly, a boy came up to you and offered your younger boy his toy. You accepted to the toy, but informed him your children do not play with toys and you would instead donate it. Now, parting your lack of tact in that situation (don’t even begin to spout the New Age crap about how tact is a human creation set by situationalism. Religion and words are a human creation too. So are planes and ideology.) I’d have to say that you clearly thought that because you had no problem being direct to a person, you assumed Jess would have no problem with it either.

      She was 7. You can pretend like you changed her psychology indefinitely by your “unorthodox” parenting skills, but you didn’t. Humans, whether you like it or not, are completely controlled by hormones and chemicals that release into the brain. It is unknown what has allowed humans to be sentient, because it is impossible to prove you are sentient. The point I’m trying to get across is that she still had the basic mechanics of a child.

      And if Jess was allowed to make her own decisions, why was she not allowed to play with toys? You call it a waste of time, but frankly, the earliest logic patterns I remember having were when I played with LEGO.

      Why was she not allowed to eat meat? I myself am a vegetarian, but if I held your ideologies, I would not force my children to be vegetarians. This seems to be where your story of freedom falls apart. Even if you didn’t force her to be a vegetarian, she was undoubtedly never asked whether or not she would like to eat meat. And I’m not going to say that 7 year olds are invariably incapable of making morale decisions such as these. I was 3 when I became a vegetarian (of my own free will. I’m the only one in my nuclear family). But was it a coincidence that you were both vegetarians? As well as the rest of your children? Or perhaps I’ve been misinformed, but I doubt it.

      I wonder if you’re trying to hide your insecurity. The way you hold your position with such obvious insecurities is comparable to Charlton Heston of the NRA.

  • someone

    well.. i did read most of comments but unfortunately it’s very late here in istanbul, Turkey to allow me complete reading others, i will try to do it later..

    there’s something i dont understand about. girl has gone and wont be back upon your criticism and i doubt many people reading this, i also doubt her mother will allow a 7 year old girl fly from coast to coast as a pilot again after this accident happened (i dont know if she has children). because she feels the deepest pain and wont let it happen again, of course. so, this argument goes nowhere in my opinion, (am not tryin to stop it though).

    i’m now 23, 2 years older if jessica was alive now. what i can share here is, (i hope this doesnt encourage personal views of her mother, lisa), i remember very well that i had read the news day after her plane crashed, april 11, 1996.. i remember news and her photo attached on Turkish newspaper, about the youngest trainee etc. maybe i’m the one who remembers that thing so clearly living 10 000 kms away from united states and i bet lisa cant even show where my country is on map. she may feel honored when she hears someone from far away country still remembers accident.. she may think something like ”oh, how famous jessica was. i was right to allow/force her do that. if she had managed to complete mission, she would have been very famous now all around the world”. but things are not like that. as adam said, jessica was already forgotten by many. only her relatives and closest friends remember her. she would be 21 now, right? tens of years to live more with the permission of Allah/God.

    as a foreigner and muslim i feel really sad just like i feel sad for every single Iraqi child killed directly or indirectly by illegal north american troops in Iraq. i remember date of plane crash very well.. to ones who may wonder how i found this article… i wrote, april 11 plane crash jessica on google (that was all the thing i knew about). that was enough to find this place. i watched 2 videos on youtube and refreshed my memory. it’s still sad, just like i felt when i was 9 and she was 7.

  • Dead Leaves

    After reading all of these posts, I am left sitting here, shaking my head.

    Shaking my head, confused…. “how could a parent be so irresponsible?”… how could Crazy Lisa be so ignorant and naive to all of the intelligent, well-worded responses that actually make sense. The fact that she disagrees with all of this logic and reason is a testament to her insanity, and she should be forced to have her tubes tied so that she will never have children again, since they won’t have a chance to survive anyways. This is the first post for 2010…. I wonder how screwed up her kids are all these years later, if they are even still alive.

    Its sad that a little girl had to die because of careless parenting.

    Just my two cents.

  • High Plains Mom

    Accidentally happening upon this blog’s thread was a curious diversion. I’m ashamed to say that I’m fascinated by the tragi-comic amalgam of diametric oppositions that is Lisa Hathaway.

    I can’t help but wonder how a mother – who once made a point of raising her children in a home without television – has become an Internet self-promoter and a vocal supporter of Fox News Channel.

    Discovering that I could buy a “Spiritual Healing” on Ms. Hathaway’s website for the low, low price of 300 USD — payment via PayPal required in advance with the assurance that healing begins immediately upon payment (apparently she is also psychic) — tells me more about her than any of her previous posts ever could.

    • Travis

      I agree, it disgusts me.

      The weird thing is she lives in like a huge house, doesn’t work, and complains that she’s taxed too much.

  • Dead Leaves

    oops, make that 2nd post for 2010. Whatever. I’m gonna go take my 4 year old nephew for hist first lap dance (he looks old for his age) this is a great country…. don’t worry, I told him how important jimmy hats are

  • Anon

    The more I learn about Jessica’s mother, the more disturbed I am by all of this. Parents are supposed to protect their children and set boundaries and give guidance. Children and teenagers brains are not fully developed and cannot understand the consequences of their actions. That’s why we have parents to protect us from our own lack of knowledge and experience. Also, it’s so disturbing that she refers to herself as “Jessica Abroffs Mother” on various websites and that she is selling her child’s biography for $33 on the web. Everyone deserves the chance to make it to adulthood where they then can truly live their dreams and make their own decisions. I hardly think someone with only 32 hours of flight time was living out her dreams or her passions. I’ve known pilots that were killed in crashes that truly did die doing what they loved. But that’s because they were adults who made that their career choice or lifelong hobby. They died with more than 30 years flying experience and got to live a long life doing what they loved. Not dying for their parents 15 minutes of fame.