Commentary on today’s news and opinion, from readers and newsmakers.
With rare exception, LoHud.com readers criticized our coverage of the cause of a quadruple-fatal fire in Carmel and the Carmel Police Department’s disclosure of their findings that the sole survivor’s cigarette started the blaze. Comments such as these began appearing Thursday and continued into Friday:
With all the cover-ups committed by officials in our society for selfish reasons, why does this young man who lost his entire family as a result of a tragic mistake need to go on knowing that he was the cause? Couldn’t the authorities have just said ‘We don’t know what caused the blaze?’ And where is the conscience of those who leaked the story to the media? For shame.”
— Rob Wachs
If it bleeds, it reads. Poor kid, what a heavy load to carry.”
— Gerald Damon
My heart goes out to Thomas Sullivan Jr. to have to live the rest of his life knowing the terrible cost of a simple mistake and have to face this in public. I think releasing the cause of the fire as an unextinguished cigarette butt would have been sufficient. It was not necessary to publicize whose cigarette it was when the fire was not intentionally set.”
— Mindy Eisenberg Troge
Despicable headline … period. I hope you can live with yourself after writing it maybe you can hand deliver the paper to him and really make him feel wonderful. A fire like that should not start from a cigarette butt; highly flammable mulch and cheap building materials are to blame. You should write an apology to this young man and you should hang your head in shame. His entire family is gone. Put yourself in his shoes. He’s a child for God sake. Ohh I probably shouldn’t say that on Lohud. I think I may cancel my subscription and I hope plenty of others do the same. Disgraceful.”
— Roseanne McDougall Chambers
Isn’t it horrible enough to lose your entire family all at once? Shame on you for making this headline so huge.”
— Alicen Cindrich
At best, why couldn’t the results of the findings just have been implied? It’s not all about the headlines and the sale of newspapers. It was also the breaking news on TV. Our society has to stop being so sensationalistic and think with its conscience. Tommy is to be commended for his honesty and he doesn’t deserve public rebuke.”
— Donna Anderson
My condolences to Thomas Sullivan Jr. for the overwhelming grief that he must be experiencing. Hopefully, time and space will provide him with the strength to move pass this unbelievable tragedy in a small way. As for the reporting on this story, some readers seem confused about the investigation of the cause of the fire. LoHud did not conduct the investigation and reach the conclusions regarding the cause of the fire, it is the Carmel PD assisted by county and state agencies that conducted the investigation. The details stated in the investigation is a matter of public record and I don’t see what would have been accomplished if certain details were omitted in the news story. The headlines in LoHud and other publications are not meant to be literal truth but rather a tease to get a potential reader to look further, although I agree greater sensitivity should have been used in the headline reporting on this story.
— John O’Reilly
It’s not about blame, it’s about responsibility.”
— Mike DePaoli
Most of the comments are from Thursday’s breaking story.
The sentiments on Facebook weren’t much different:
We responded to readers on Thursday night when the conversation was at its peak. Our statement is posted again here:
We want to thank you for weighing in on this important story. The information conveyed about the cause of the fire and the role Thomas Jr. may have played has been a source of both inquiry and intense speculation in the past five weeks. Today’s announcement, as difficult as it is to hear and as painful as it is for all involved, begins to put that speculation to rest and to address questions the entire community has been asking. Our duty is to convey that information accurately, completely and responsibly, and we believe we have done so.”
What are you talking about today? Leave your answers in the comments below.