EDITORíS DESK: Media should be part of the solution
I ran into an old acquaintance this week - Jeff Nohr, long-time Manitou Springs police chief, now working cold cases for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. When I
first met him, about 20 years ago, he had recently worked his way up from patrol officer to detective.
Those were the freer days, when beat reporters could pretty much saunter into police or fire stations, browse the log or blotter, take notes on whatever calls seemed newsworthy and visit with the cops or firefighters. Trust was the watchword, and a police/fire reporter could really earn it only one way - by writing fairly and accurately. Nowadays, the security wall is higher, and there are privacy laws that prevent looking at Fire Department calls altogether. The stakes seem to have gotten too high to even give trust a chance - such are the times we live in.
As is the nature of crime, the reason Mr. Nohr and I wound up in the same place was not a jolly one. It was a public meeting to announce that a man convicted several years ago of being a sexually violent predator, was being released from prison and would be living in an unincorporated part of West Colorado Avenue. Several people who had just found out they would be his neighbors were understandably concerned.
The night of the meeting was also just after the mass murders at Virginia Tech, so Jeff's and my conversation turned to what causes such events and why they seem to be increasing. He has a
theory that media glorification of crime contributes to the problem. I agree. I've addressed this point here before. Criminals do not get their picture in this paper. If we're going to glorify anything, let it be the volunteer effort that so many people put forth. They've earned the right. Not the Virginia Tech lunatic. Not our new neighbor/predator. And yet we can hold out hope for him. That's the great thing about a free society. This man could make our paper yet. By straightening out his life.