The seeming request came this time from a man I respect a great deal, a man concerned about a friend. He wouldn’t ask directly, but he did want to deliver his case in defense of his friend.
There were extenuating circumstances. His friend’s actions were misunderstood by law enforcement. There was a hint that maybe the circumstances surrounding his friend’s arrest were misused by law enforcement. All are possible scenarios. All should be brought out to public light and examined.
My friend never asked directly for the name to be withheld from publication, but he came to me and said that his friend should not be grouped with the others.
I told him that I’d like to believe fully that publication of an arrest is not seen as a punishment. Technically it is not a punishment, but I’m sure that it probably feels like being presented to the community in wooden stocks on the public square.
The newspaper really is about reporting what is going on in the community. What we have to remember is the danger of not having access to arrest records. History teaches that could lead to more dangerous, even lethal results for the person arrested.
You don’t want to disappear behind the doors of the Court of the Star Chamber or disappear into an Argentine prison or be shipped off to the Gulag and forgotten.
Hopefully readers can be open minded enough to wait out the result of our community’s open trial process and not chastise, or revile, before the truth is known.
Our sheriff has a good batting average, but the court reveals the final verdict. We will follow that to the end also for these cases to the best of our ability. Whether the case is dropped, reduced or sentence passed, the verdict will be returned.
Many of these cases will reveal true illegal behavior in the community. We know that it goes on but it is important that we have it stated and bluntly face us. We need to know the dangers accompanying life in this community as fine and secure as it is. We need to know the dangers for ourselves and our children. We have our sheriff and police and SBI to thank for that knowledge.
If there are problems of mistaken charges then the answer is more public information, not less.
In all of this let’s not forget a measure of understanding for those lost in a sea of addiction.
Hopefully the wrenching of the handcuffs can become a moment of clarity for those lost in the haze of substance abuse.
Local law officers are intent on attacking the drug problem here, but law enforcement is really only part of the answer. No number of laws and sheriff’s deputies can keep an addict from getting what his warped brain tells him he needs.
Hopefully now, for those reaching a moment of clarity about their misdirection, the community can also provide a hand to help them out of the substance abuse morass.
Lonnie Adamson is Publisher/Editor of the Jefferson Post.