Editors Column: ‘Redeem the Day’

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Amid the flags and images of the Twin Towers on Wednesday, an author friend shared something that begs repeating, not just on the anniversary of 9/11, but every day we’re faced with something that threatens to steal our joie de vivre (joy of living). Here’s what she wrote:
“Redeem the day. Buy it back by doing something that makes a positive difference. It could be as simple as slowing down from a frantic pace and smiling at the checker in the grocery store. Or telling someone you love them, forgive them, appreciate them. Or thanking God for life.
Whatever it is‚ “#redeemtheday.”

There’s a fine line between the public’s right to know and protecting the personal information of those involved in government, special districts and law enforcement. The flip side of that argument is those in leadership positions willingly set aside the privilege and comfort of anonymity and become subject to public scrutiny.
That’s why when something goes awry and public servants disappear—whether they’re veteran law enforcement officers or long-term government employees—questions arise.
Unanswered questions morph into rumors, rumors disintegrate into petty gossip, and before long there’s a virtual cesspool of rotting ugliness surrounding what what was originally a pretty straightforward situation. That kind of simmering unrest is detrimental to a community.
It reminds me of parenting. When there’s a strong odor wafting from the toddler hiding in the corner, you know there’s something amiss. Said toddler will deny any culpability in the production of the odor till the cows come home, because he/she is immature and fearful. The human tendency is to want to hide things to avoid possible persecution and recrimination.
But, as in the case of the toddler, hiding things (except for Easter eggs and Christmas presents) tends to cause a painful rash, and who wants that?
The more open, transparent and honest communication we have between government, law enforcement, special districts and the press (and thereby the public), the more comfortable we will all be.
When we ask for information or file an open records request or a criminal justice records request, it’s not because we’re looking to find fault, we’re looking for answers to questions that have been raised. When those questions are answered and the story is fully told, I believe public trust is improved.

An article in this year’s hunting guide has been deemed “racist” by an out-of-town business owner, who threatened to contact our advertisers and tell them how horrid we are. If the article—which the author intended to be humorous—offended any of you, we sincerely apologize and hope you know that was certainly not our intention. It’s a delicate balance these days, publishing information of any kind (even anecdotal stories) without offending someone.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A rough draft of the previous column was inadvertently posted earlier. This is the kinder, gentler edited version that appeared in print.