A father’s response to a nightmare

Posted 2/4/18

Several weeks ago, I woke up from a deep sleep, frantic and screaming.

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A father’s response to a nightmare


Several weeks ago, I woke up from a deep sleep, frantic and screaming.

I don’t remember the episode, but my wife says I was panicking, asking if my infant daughter was OK. She said there was a fear in my eyes that she had not seen in our more than 20 years together. I did not become calm until I saw our daughter, realizing she was not in danger, but snoring peacefully in her crib.

The next morning, Andrea asked me if I was OK. Not remembering the incident, I just said, “Yeah.” She went on to tell me about what had happened that night. My amnesia about the incident remained, but her statements did bring back bits and pieces of a nightmare that I must have had only moments before I woke her up with my fear.

I recalled something happening to our youngest in the nightmare, which must have been the trigger for a panic attack.

On Friday morning, I watched a video of a father who had just heard testimony that had to seem like a nightmare to him. It sent him into a panic.

Randall Margraves’ daughters were among the 265 girls who were molested by disgraced USA Olympics doctor Larry Nassar. After listening to his daughters’ victim statements in a Michigan courtroom on Friday, Margraves lunged at Nassar and had to be restrained by court officials.

In speaking to the judge before his outburst, Margraves had asked that a part of Nassar’s sentence be that he had to spend five minutes in a locked room with that angry father.

When the judge refused, Margraves asked for only one minute alone with Nassar. After hearing the judge’s refusal again, Margraves decided to take matters into his own hands, lunging toward the monster that abused his daughters.

My first reaction to the video was that law enforcement officials should have been a little slower to stop Margraves, letting him get at least 30 seconds or so to work out his frustration on that “demon,” as he referred to Nassar.

I have probably watched that video five or six times now, and my opinion has not changed. Margraves deserved the chance to inflict pain on Nassar.

As a person who strongly believes in nonviolence, that is difficult for me to say, but as a father of four daughters, I can only imagine the pain, the anxiety, the frustration and the anger rushing through Mr. Margraves at that point in time. Even if it isn’t the correct response, that father deserved at least one moment to beat that guy’s butt.

If you continue to watch the video after the attempted assault on Nassar, the look of the father as he is laying helpless on the ground with security placing restraints on him is a look that I think all parents would have.

As parents, one of our goals is to always protect our children. A terrible human being hurt this man’s children, and he wasn’t able to prevent it. The weight of that realization had to be much heavier than the members of law enforcement lying across his back.

After the outburst in court, thousands of people across the country were donating money to be sure that Margraves didn’t have to pay for any legal fees resulting from the incident. I would have been more than happy to donate to the cause, but by Friday afternoon, Margraves was back in front of the same judge, apologizing for losing his cool.

While the judge could have punished Margraves for breaching court rules, she decided against that, saying, “There is no way that this court is going to issue any type of punishment given the circumstances of this case.”

Margraves has three daughters. It is obvious that he would stop at nothing to keep them safe. That’s something I completely understand.

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.