Tahlequah Daily Press

Columns

December 4, 2013

The blatantly false ring of the old ‘coverup’ allegation

TAHLEQUAH — The caller did not identify herself, but I recognized her voice. She’d called and left a message before, with the same claim – that I had “suppressed” news about my son’s criminal behavior. This time, though, she mentioned my son by name, and dropped the bombshell that he had done his nefarious deed while in “scouts” – though he was only a Cub Scout for about three months in first grade.

The monologue began with an objection to my devoting last week’s column to nuts, wherein I had complained about the high cost of the seasonal treats. She informed me that I could’ve bought nuts for $3-something a pound at a local store, and added, “So now who’s the nut?” She failed to mention these nuts were mixed; if a nut-nosher wanted a certain kind, I doubt the manager would approve of a customer’s selectively picking over the bin.

“A bunch of us still remember how you covered up what your son did,” she then added. Clearly, she doesn’t know me. If she did, she would know that if my son were charged with a crime, not only would he spend a few nights in jail, he would be reading about it in the paper. My son has always understood my sentiments, and so have various sheriffs and police chiefs over the years.

Many years ago, a couple of high-profile local men held the same view when their teens got into trouble involving a keg of beer and some folks who weren’t yet 21. As the story goes, both fellows left their kids in the hoosegow, with one specifying his offspring was to be mock-sexually harassed by a rather large fellow inmate. Rumor has it that when the father finally showed up, the boy was clinging to the bars of the cell not just with his hands, but also with his feet, bawling like a baby. I don’t recall seeing this young man’s name on any police reports after that time. By the way, neither dad called to ask that we withhold names from print. They knew they need not have bothered, because if we have the name, we’re going to print it. That’s standard operating procedure for a newspaper, be-cause when someone’s charged with a crime, it’s public record. And not a week goes by that we don’t have to remind someone – usually the older parent of a wayward young adult – of that fact.

I’ve been told dozens and dozens of times, by folks asking us to withhold a name from print, that they know of other cases where we’ve done so. Each time, we tell them it’s public record, that they have the same access we do, and if they can show us a “covered-up” document, we’ll gladly print it. We also tell them it wouldn’t be kosher for an agency to deny us an arrest report if we asked for it. Not surprisingly, no one has ever showed up with an actual suppressed report. So it’s either an ages-old, county-wide conspiracy involving countless tight-lipped cops, record clerks, elected officials and legions of journalists, or the rumors have no merit. Take your pick, but if you think the grapevine won’t eventually get ahold of it, you must not be from around these parts.

I’m willing to entertain the idea that the woman has my son confused with someone else, but I suspect she has a kid my son’s age who’s been in trouble and had his name in the paper a few times. Former teachers I talked to, as well as former classmates, couldn’t imagine what the caller might be talking about. One friend asked if someone in authority could have “fixed” a problem without telling me about it, but that makes no sense. Anyone who would take that type of professional risk would want something in return – like money, which I don’t have, or suppression of news about criminal behavior by their own relatives, which I couldn’t do without risking my job.

I finally asked my son if he could recall anything he might have done, however innocuous, to provoke the accusation. All he could come up with was the time in  ninth grade when he and another kid got into a fight on a bus, but they were both suspended. Newspapers don’t normally publish stories about fights at school, unless charges are filed; we don’t have enough reporters, or enough hours in the day or pages in the paper, to do that.

My sister said the only thing she could think of that my son has done wrong is talk too much, a pathology often accompanied by a foot stuffed into a blabbing mouth, or by a vigorous response from someone tired of hearing it blab. But talking too much isn’t  a crime – and if I covered up that information before, the cat’s sure out of the bag now.

I have to give the caller credit, though: She signed off with, “You have a nice day, now.” Emily Post would’ve been proud.

Kim Poindexter is managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Wild West pits U.S. government against “We the people”

    Unless one has been living under a rock over the past week, one couldn’t have missed the recent standoff in Nevada between a rancher and the U.S. government. It’s only one incident in many that has the government of the people pitted against the people.

    April 16, 2014

  • Bodily functions don’t belong in job interviews

    For all you soon-to-be college grads who will be trying to join the rest of us suckers in the workforce, I have a word of advice: Don’t pass gas during the interview.

    April 14, 2014

  • As Moore tornado anniversary nears, documentaries ask, ‘Where was God?’

    But one question put to readers in a publication that crossed my desk was a bit confusing to me. It asks its readers: “Where was God?”

    April 9, 2014

  • A pound of bacon is better than a pig in love

    Whatever happened to the cavemen in the Geiko insurance commercials? Those were some of the least-offensive TV blurbs I’ve ever seen, and they were original. But like any other good idea, this one fell victim to the kind of corporate tampering that always insists on fixing what ain’t broken.

    April 7, 2014

  • Escape from Auschwitz: To the 21st century

    One would have to question whether our world has gone mad in this, the 21st century, or if we are doomed to repeat the historical past.

    March 30, 2014

  • Volunteers needed to ‘Clean up Tahlequah’

    There’s a movement afoot that tugs at the pride of the folks calling Tahlequah and the rest of Cherokee County home. It’s an appeal for everyone – from the youngest to the oldest – to clean up the turf around them. Call it a campaign or a program, but what it really boils down to is a shoutout to all of us to resist contributing to the roadside trash we see, now that the snows of winter are behind us.

    March 24, 2014

  • U.S. debt threatens dollar as world currency

    March 16, 2014

    March 17, 2014

  • A sense of entitlement

    March 16, 2014

    March 17, 2014

  • It’s the publisher who sets the tone – and courage is key

    Daily Press readers should be gratified to know they have a publisher who brings courage and experience to our newspaper; who will stand as a bulwark against outside forces that might try to suppress information; and who believes in the tenet of “fair comment and criticism.” Anyone who knows me can attest I’ve always felt the same way – but the editor doesn’t get to set the tone, unless the publisher allows it.

    March 10, 2014

  • Putin switches attention from Olympics to taking over Ukraine

    Russia’s President Vladamir Putin, former head of the KGB before the Soviet Union splintered under the weight of the arms race, has taken up his old habits now that the international community has vacated Sochi and the Olympic torch has been extinguished.
    It seems as though Putin wants the old Soviet Empire to rise again.

    March 6, 2014

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Stocks