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The media as a weaponPosted Tuesday, December 18, 2007, at 10:11 AM
I've got an editorial page column about how the Dawn Bobo case has been handled so far going in Wednesday's T-G, but I'd like to weigh in here a little more briefly on the same things.
(Wednesday update) Access the column here www.t-g.com/story/1298614.html.
I'm concerned about some people out to do what I call "using the media as a weapon." Words can wound, as we who work with them daily well know.
Some who contacted us about the Bobo situation before we reported it were reasonable. They were appreciated and heard. Others seemed furious, not only at what Bobo allegedly did, but at Bobo herself.
We always, very much, want to hear from those with legitimate wrongs which need to be exposed. But I'm wary of those who obviously have slander and hatred on their minds. Too many people want stories to be reported simply to hurt others or settle personal grudges.
A few years from now and beyond it's not going to make any difference in anyone's life because Dawn Bobo accidentally brought a gun to Liberty School in 2007, unless it's her own life due to how she's treated through the court and school systems.
That's why, if I were a judge, I'd levy very light punishment, probably no more than a year's probation. Bobo admitted making a honest mistake, as we all have. And what she allegedly did is far different from bringing a weapon to a school or building with the intention of using it.
Several who commented on our website claim certain people receive favorable treatment from local institutions.
Bobo didn't receive special treatment in our coverage. And hopefully she'll receive fair but equal treatment from the court and school officials.
I've heard claims for years that some teachers and students in the Bedford County school system are treated differently based on income, "who they are," etc. Perhaps it's time for open discussion about this at school board meetings to get things out in the open or put the claims to rest for good.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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