Daily Hampshire Gazette version of Boston Globe story
I'm sorry but I find it odd the venerable Boston Globe went with this story (in a BIG way I might add) using anonymous sources -- the parents who endured that which no parent should endure.
Yes, I'm well aware of my exceedingly high percentage of commenters who wish to remain anonymous. I struggle almost daily with publishing some of the nasty unfair criticism they hurl at people both in the public eye and sometimes not so much in the public eye.
In America one of our fundamental legal rights is to be able to face our accuser. The Globe allowed grieving parents to criticize the UMass Police Chief and Assistant Chief while remaining cloaked in anonymity.
Sorry but you can't have it both ways. Let's protect the parents' privacy so as not to further hurt their already battered feelings, but simultaneously allow them to hurt others' feelings by suggesting they screwed up, causing a young man's death. Cops are human beings too.
The reason I published the young man's death certificate four months ago using the killer quote "acute heroin intoxication" is because I thought people should be aware that heroin is deadly serious business, even in our bucolic little town.
And why shouldn't police protect their sources the same way journalists do?
If I take a photo in town center of a low-level town employee inappropriately parking in a handicapped zone and they offer me details of high-level corruption in exchange for not publishing it, what the hell do you think I'm gonna do?
The "age of majority" in Massachusetts is 18, so police were under no legal obligation to contact the parents. And it's a bit of a leap to strongly suggest that parental intervention with a 20-year-old is guaranteed to make a life or death difference.
Last week a UMass student killed himself in an off-campus location. The District Attorney does not comment on private deaths in private homes, neither apparently does UMass (except they did issue a statement on the day the drug informant was found dead in his off campus apartment).
But what if the Phoebe Prince case was covered up in such a typical manner? Massachusetts would not now have stronger anti-bullying laws.
And what if none of the 100 grieving relatives of those who died in the horrific Station Nightclub fire wanted it mentioned that their loved one died in a bar? We would not now have stronger legislation to protect the public from such a fire ever reoccurring.
And where would gay rights and AIDS research be today if Rock Hudson had not come out in 1985 to acknowledge he had the dreaded disease?
The greater good often comes at the expense of the very few. Or the one.