Sunday, October 30, 2005

To the Editor

If you live in Gloucester you might be familiar with a couple of articles written recently. See front page Times October 19th and 20th. The reporting has been bothering me a bit, enough that I've been composing letters to the editor in my head. This is what came out. If it's weak please tell I'd like to know before I send it.

To the Editor:

It is with regret that I read two recent articles detailing the arrest and subsequent arraignment of Gloucester resident Mac Bell. Aside from the basic facts detailing the arrest and a thorough account of Mr. Bell's police record, some personal information was included--cousin of the mayor, developer of the Gloucester Mill condominiums and Walgreen's Plaza, former city councilor, but other personal information, information that would have allowed readers to gain a more complete picture of Mr. Bell, was disappointingly left out.

I do not condone Mr. Bell's actions. I am saddened that people were injured as a result of such actions; Mr. Bell was definitely out of line. However, I am also saddened that the information was presented with such condemnation, "Children inside the school bus, going home from O'Maley Middle School, watched police handcuff Bell...", leaving many readers with an incomplete view of a person who has contributed positively to our community in many ways.

If a reporter is going to include any personal information, this information should allow the reader access to the full story, the one in which people are not characters in a Dickens novel, either very good or very bad. If the reporter is not going to tell the full and more complex story then he or she should leave arrests to the police notes, which as reported but with removal of all personal information aside from name, age and address, is where this story belonged.

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