Tuesday, May 10, 2011


No picture today friends. I can't.
I have very few regrets about my time as a reporter. I enjoyed almost every minute of a 25 year career.
But there is one story that has haunted me for years.
I'm going to try to be as vague as possible. I hope that you'll understand why.
Decades ago I met a man I came to really like. He was a local businessman and I was at his business a lot. We shared many a laugh.
Then came one tragic morning.
The man's son was killed. He was murdered by someone he knew. But he was an innocent. He was not the intended target. He was just in the wrong place, wrong time. Another man was shot and wounded. The gunman, who had a history of mental problems, turned the gun on himself.
I had to cover the story. My photographer and I were at the scene early enough to capture the scene and the removal of the bodies. Those are important pictures for television news.
The senselessness of the killing kept that story in the news for weeks, months and even years.
The victim's family later filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charging the state was negligent in releasing the gunman from a mental hospital.
Each time I reported the story, my station aired those pictures of a young man's body being carried out of his home for the last time.
Each time, I forced his family to relive that terrible moment.
Because of that decision, the decision to show those pictures, I lost a friend.
Our paths would cross occasionally, but I did everything I could to avoid him. Because every time he saw me, he saw his son.
My friend died recently. I did not go to the viewing. Doing so would only bring more heartache to a family already overwhelmed with grief. I couldn't do that to them. again.
I said good-bye in my own way.
Perhaps his family can take comfort knowing that a father was reunited with a son he lost too soon.
I've told this story to a few colleagues. None of us has been able to figure out how to balance the right of the public to know and see what happened with the feelings of a family trying to come to grips with a tragedy.
I did my job differently after that.
The song says, "regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention."
This regret is worth mentioning, one last time.


Mike said...

Kevin, you should not agonize any longer, you did what you thought was right.Sometimes we just have to let go...You're to good a person to do otherwise..Mike Cefalo

Rich Mates said...

I agree with Mike. I remember the story. The people at CSSH never assumed responsibility.

Rich Mates