Reality, emotions clash over video
The Times-Gazette posted a video earlier this week showing a high-speed chase across the county early Saturday morning that ended with one young man dead and one injured.
Our sympathy goes out to the family of the man who lost his life.
When searching for a "why" in a sudden, unexpected death, raw feelings sometimes take over.
Criticism, driven by emotions over the sudden loss of a loved one, has been aimed at law enforcement and the T-G.
A quote from Bedford County chief deputy David Williams Jr. in Tuesday's T-G story about the pursuit appropriately summed up situations law enforcement and this newspaper often face: "Damned if you do and damned if you don't."
The T-G has received a lot of heat on its Facebook page for posting the video. But we stand behind our decision to make the video available to the public.
(The video was later removed from the website and the T-G's Facebook page, after a request to the editor by Sheriff Randall Boyce due to serious threats made to a law enforcement officer).
Decisions on news coverage are made with careful thought and consideration toward the community.
We agree such a video is hard to watch, especially for friends and family members close to the man who died. We've been asked to put ourselves in the shoes of these family members. Quite simply, that is something we always try to do before making decisions -- decisions that are well-thought out and certainly not taken lightly. And we, too, grieve for the family.
However, eliminating videos and/or stories some find unpleasant does not make reality disappear.
We do not decide the news, but rather, we do our best to report it. We strive to hold a mirror up to our community that reflects what's truly happening, even if what we see is not pretty.
In this case, the lives of innocent people were threatened and many were awakened by sirens early Saturday morning. People want to know the facts. Our job is to supply them.
Consider the many young drivers in Bedford County who are given a set of keys at age 16. Over the last few years, far too many young lives have been lost in tragic automobile accidents. Young adults need to understand the consequences of their actions.
There is no telling how many lives could have been lost in Saturday morning's tragic incident.
We sincerely hope this video solicits careful thought among parents, teachers, children and others who get behind the wheel of any vehicle.
Questions remain. Could anything have been done to stop this pursuit before it resulted in a fatality? Should officers be equipped with items such as spike strips to stop a fleeing vehicle before things get out of hand?
We'd like to think the video will lead to discussions that could help answer some of these questions and ultimately save lives.