It has been a depressing few weeks in Calgary. The loss of young Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents has been on everyone minds. I am not a police officer, a member of the media or a family member. This leaves me wholly incapable of reporting on the facts, or perceived facts of this incident. I don’t want to discuss the innuendo, theories or any other parts of the crime. It saddens me deeply. I do want to discuss a Calgary Herald article about this case, and that journalists belief of our right to information.
Chirstie Blatchford, of the Calgary Herald had an interesting article this morning (please take the time to read this article Here ). In that article she passes an opinion, that the police owe us more information. They owe the public, who worried and took interest in the story, as much information as possible. I am not sure I agree with her. In fact I know I don’t, I don’t need to live this families pain in its entirety. I can empathize, with them, I certainly can understand they are in a great deal of pain. I do know I can’t experience that amount of pain. Nor am I interested in it. And most people’s initial reaction seems to be the same. Ms. Blatchford is running from a lynch mob on the internet. And I will admit, pitch fork in hand, I had my torch in the communal fire. However than I took the time to think about what she said.
While I am not in agreement with it, that is also my preference. Certainly I would be the one skipping the gory details and just reading the news that they had someone in custody. However I do see where Ms. Blatchford is coming from. After all I live in a house, with a beautiful wife, who spends lots of free time reading People.com. I don’t get the appeal of tabloid journalism, and for the most part I am not into spying or judging others. But I realize there is a huge segment of the population that does read this stuff and follow it regularly. I love some good trade talk when it comes to the NHL too.
So is there a segment of the population that is very interested in this sad information as well? I would imagine the answer is yes. I think a lot of our city has become very invested in this story. A lot of people are interested in the outcome. Most hoping for the improbable happy ending, that never came.
What did the police owe to the public? Well the truth is nothing. Their job description doesn’t include public information. They owe us the effort to investigate and solve this crime, and others. However we all know, job descriptions to text book and actual job requirements are different. So a small part of me can see what this journalist is asking for. Honesty from its police force. The public having vested so many thoughts into this families hopes, seems to be needing some closure as well. A lot of people want to know the reasons they finally decided to consider this a homicide and who is responsible. Human nature craves a closed ending. It is why hollywood wraps all their pop culture movies up in a tight little bow. Maybe there is something to telling us the information.
While I may not agree, on a personal level, with this article, I also don’t think we should be hanging Christie Blatchford. The wound of this discovery and information is fresh, and we are all a little on the righteous side right after. Keep it private for the families sake rings so true. But as time goes on the public will want the information released, will want to understand how this crime was solved. So before we all burn this poor woman at the stake, maybe we should understand it is her job to present all sides of the story. Agree or not, the tabloid culture of our society says she has some legitimate reasons to voice this concern.