Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


May 10, 2013

OPINION: The Front Page Backstory: Because there's always more than what you see

Accusing reporter of racism isn't the whole story



(It is important to note that the hospital is probably the only entity that could have provided us with any clarity as to the nationality of the threatened colleague.)

I discussed the incident with Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel. The chief, as always, was aware the community was abuzz with word of the arrest and worked quickly to give us answers to share with our readers.

The chief responded with the following email:

“His name is (Laurence) Cunningham and I understand he was fired from ETMC yesterday after making threats towards another doctor who is of Middle East descent. The report says he thought the other doctor was happy about 9-11 and the Boston bombings and he didn't like it.”

The chief went on in his email to describe the circumstances of the incident.

“He showed up at the hospital today, intoxicated with a shotgun in his vehicle and was arrested, We are charging him with public intoxication and making terroristic threats. He will be in jail overnight and be arraigned tomorrow morning.”

That was all that was said. The totality of the information that was exchanged. There was no assumption on our part regarding the victim's country of origin. It was provided to us very clearly by a police chief who was using the best, most accurate, information he had to give.

Back to this early email: The first questions I had after reading it were:

• Is what this woman contends even true?

• How does this person know so much about hospital staff?

• Could this be merely shared gossip from a mean-spirited person?

• Was this person, perhaps, an employee of the hospital violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA, Privacy and Security Rules? Or a spouse or life partner of the same?

The name of the writer was listed along with her email address at the top of the message, but she did not formally sign it, which is the prerequisite to be considered as a letter to the editor submission.

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