Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Teen's Family Sues Over Hanging Death - AP
Call me crazy, but something about this story smells like two-day-old sushi. A black teenager at a Christian camp near Columbus Ohio is asphyxiated - hung, on his 18th birthday, via a noose around his neck, in a remote part of the campground. His four white ‘friends’ claim, in unison, that he was ‘depressed and suicidal’ prior to his death. Give me a break!
Now I have watched enough CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) real and fictionalized to know that death by hanging oneself creates quite a different postmortem pathology than death at the hands of another. It would seem that if the authorities were fully doing their jobs, they would be able to figure out conclusively whether the four are telling the truth about how this young man died. Conspiracies are nearly impossible to maintain when the klieg-lights are properly aimed and turned on.
What is also amazing to me is the criteria the leading print media outlets use to decide what is newsworthy. Neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times, to my knowledge, felt the original story was worthy of passing along to us, let alone applying any of their own resources to its more in-depth coverage.
The importance of good investigative journalism cannot be understated, relative to insuring that the responsible authorities treat their jobs with the importance and thoroughness required. The family should not have to sue in civil court, and pay their own money for a full investigation, including whether a crime was actually committed. It is this breakdown in the ‘information feedback loop’ that loads-the- shoots for huge financial judgments, when the truth finally breaks the surface.
In reality, what the family probably wants and deserves most is an honest accounting of what happened to their child. It is sad that they must take this accusatory approach with the authorities to get objective attention, justice, and peace.
James C. Collier
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