Friday, June 30, 2006

Another Big Bang in Lexington

It's bad enough that those kids who blew up the pipe bomb in Lexington live nearby. I'm hoping that the whole thing will turn out to be just a stupid, pre-4th of July prank. And thank goodness, no one was hurt. (Lexington is becoming quite the center for explosions, isn't it?) I'm sure the parents are mortified and furious (it was the mom who called the cops).

But now that it's all over, I'm wondering: Who made the decision to let numerous media vehicles onto the street (close to the house in question) yet at the same time barricade the streets to neighborhood traffic? My husband had to park way down the street, then argue politely with a cop about walking to our house (which sits within the evacuated zone) to get me and our son. They nearly didn't let him come home, but fortunately, a police officer took pity on Jim and let him fetch us, with the promise that we'd walk out of the zone immediately.

Yet at no time during this dickering with Jim about crossing the barrier did any official think to either (a) come and escort from our house or at least (b) call us and ask us to leave. My husband was even there to give them the number.

In other words, it wasn't safe for him to swing by for his family, but it was okay for us to sit like potential sitting ducks in the house. And okay for all the local newsmedia to camp outside Maison de Pipe Bomb, just in case something really juicy happened. Are exploding reporters an even bigger story than the one they came to cover?

This does not exactly make me feel safe and secure.

(Photo courtesy of


Blogger Alyssa said...

Maybe the cops thought it was okay if some TV people exploded. Cops can be funny that way.

Glad to hear everyone is okay - sounds scary!

7:03 AM  
Anonymous jjdaley said...

Actually that's close. The police are responsible for the safety of the public, but accredited media implicitly waive liability for any danger that they put themselves in.

So they get to cross safety perimeters, although they aren't allowed in where they could interfere with police operations.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Not only do accredited media waive liability, but it's important that someone be allowed inside those barricades to let everyone know what's going on.

It makes sense to keep 'civilians' out of harms way and out of the way of police officers in an emergency situation (such as a bombing). However it's also important that we be able to know what's going on around us. Not only would it be annoying to never be able to find out what happened until the police made an official statement, but it would deprive us of the oversight that a free media is intended to provide over the government. They're our police force, and its important that we know what they're up to.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous jason said...

Josh said it pretty well. When you let a reporter in, you're doing your best to, in essence, let everyone else in. Just, you know, without the stampede of people.

I'm a reporter, and this reminds me of something a photographer I work with once said. He told me he doesn't feel bad about blocking someone's view of an event, because his ability to see something clearly means thousands of people will be able to see it clearly through him. We're there because not everyone can be, so it's our job to show everyone what we saw.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

Actually, I'm a big believer in the free press and not just taking the government's word on things (goodness knows that's true in today's climate!). You won't get an argument from me on that.

It's as much that I wondered why no cop came knocking on my door to let us know that we should be out of there--we honestly didn't know the vehicles parked down the street were responding to anything more than a standard medical emergency. Yet my husband wasn't allow to cross the line. So he was safe (hundreds of yards away), while potentially we weren't.

A reporter could have stopped by to ask us to leave, too. I'm not picky when it comes to my son's safety! :-)

5:34 AM  

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