“They are trained killers!”
Over the last several days the VMI family has been in an uproar over the remarks that appeared in the Washington & Lee University newspaper the Ring-tum Phi. (Please note I also found this in the paper, an on-line poll taken which shows:
Being a native of Lexington (although I don’t live there any longer) I still consider myself a Lexingtonian first and a VMI second. Before I got my panties all twisted and bent out of shape I undertook some research on this matter, or what journalists are supposed to do, due diligence. Here is what I found out:
Here is what I know.
The Chief of Police was asked to speak to a journalism class at Washington and Lee.
- He was very comfortable in speaking with the class and was asked a question and in joking manner said “they are trained killers.” If he was speaking at VMI, and was as comfortable he very well might have said, “that their daddies would write a check and make it right” in speaking of Washington and Lee.
- He is mortified that his words were taken out of context and he believed what he said in class was not for attribution or off the record.
- He has been a net positive for Lexington, instituting community policing and putting a halt to the police arresting people as they came out of the Palms, the Southern Inn etc for public drunkenness. The police once arrested a politician for public drunkenness, he had not had drink, but rather had a gimpy leg. It was out of control the Chief has curtailed it.
- He has a son at VMI and clearly the words he used do not reflect his true beliefs.
- I was not able to find out if the author of the story was in the class, and if he was did he seek clarification from the Chief; and if he wasn’t did he bother to ask the Chief if those were his words.
We all need to take a deep breath and let this work itself out. If you want to be pissed at anyone be pissed at the student in that class who violated an implicit trust.
I also found it interesting that the Ring-tum Phi had an editorial on why American’s distrust journalists. I found this statement in the editorial interesting:
“The Ring-tum Phi staff believes that the media’s sole responsibility is to serve the American people by presenting news that isn’t colored with a journalist’s, or their network’s, point of view. When media outlets seek to further their own interests, their journalistic credibility is compromised.
Americans turn to the media as their primary source of information. Certain ethical journalistic practices should be adhered to in order to present the American public with unbiased news.”