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Letters to the editor - 8/7/03

August 07, 2003

Make your choices with care


To the editor:

I think the publication of the huge front-page article about the young man who died at the Washington County Detention Center, on the day of his viewing and the eve of his burial was tasteless, thoughtless and suspect. There are hurting and grieving family and friends who have enough to deal with at this time.

How newsworthy was this to anyone who did not know him? Interestingly, the first report of his death was a small article mentioned in the police log section of the paper. Should the authorities of the Detention Center have been at fault regarding supervision or facility design or medical care, then yes, it would be incumbent on the press to bring a lot of public attention to the event.

As it is, it appears there was a rush to establish that the institution was not at fault. To do so, the unfortunate poor choices of this young man were publicly detailed at the expense of his family and friends. Perhaps, by his poor choices, he forfeited his right to privacy and respect, but this right for his family should have been preserved. I agree that it was important to establish that the authorities were not at fault here, if that is true. But that could have been done without publicizing all the details of this young man's mistakes.

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I would also like to say something to the friends of this young man, particularly those who shared in the poor choices that he made. Do not put your family through what his is going through now. Your friend's death is a tragedy and a loss to his family, friends, and community. His potential will never be realized and there will be a void in the future where his gifts could have been shared with others.

There is no way to turn this tragedy into anything but a tragedy. However, if just one sees it as a wake- up call, seeks help, and turns from these devastating choices, then all of this suffering may not be totally in vain. It is your choice and your decision. You be in control of your own life. Make positive choices.

M. E. Sparrow
Hagerstown




Finally, a positive sports story


To the editor:

Kudos to Andy Mason for his July 17 article about Zach Tanner, the 18-year-old cancer survivor! Mason wrote that Zach was preparing for the upcoming soccer season at Waynesboro High School after completing treatment for testicular cancer.

I do not know Zach Tanner, but his story was very inspiring. I consider myself to be an avid sports fan and thoroughly read the sports section of the paper daily. The problem is that the sports section reads like the police log anymore.

Kobe Bryant has been charged with sexual assault. Jose Canseco continues to merit (?) print space for his trial on charges of of illegal steroid use, despite not having played one baseball game for several years. And last but not least, Randall Simon smacks the Milwaukee Brewers' sausage mascot with a bat.

This story has gotten more print space and air time than any prominent national news story. It was very refreshing to read Mason's feel-good article about Zach's determination to overcome cancer and lead the Waynesboro soccer team this fall. Thank you, Andy!

David B. Hovis
Hagerstown

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