Sometimes information we want simply isn’t available. And because we don’t base our news on speculation or unverified pieces of information, we leave those waters uncharted here.
In the past couple of weeks, readers have posed questions about why we haven’t provided daily updates on the recent rash of home invasions in Sampson County, one which left a Faison Highway man dead and another which has put a 4-year-boy on life support.
And our reply has been just that — sometimes information we want, or seek, isn’t available. Oftentimes, however, it’s for very good reasons.
That has been the case with the home invasions, some of which Sampson Sheriff Jimmy Thornton believes could be targeted at seasonal farm workers, many from Hispanic descent.
Unlike many of the crime stories you have read about in our newspaper, detailing suspect descriptions, names and updated conditions of victims and in-depth explanations as to why officers believe the incidents have occurred, the home invasions have been cast in a shroud of secrecy.
Law enforcement believe it is necessary in order to gather detailed and corroborative information that will hopefully bring those responsible for these violent and unnecessary crimes to justice. And, we have agreed, partners, if you will, with investigators in attempts to see that there’s no wiggle room for those responsible for these crimes once they are taken into court and tried.
We know there have been concerns, and we have, through our stories, tried to assuage those anxieties, asking pointed questions about whether officers believe any of these acts to be random violence versus targeted crimes, and we’ve reported those findings on numerous occasions.
We’ve also updated both the condition of the young boy and the name of the man killed in the Faison Highway home invasion and shooting. What’s more, we ask on a regular basis what the status of the cases is on any given day. Any new information we provide; when there is nothing, well, as we editors often say, there’s simply nothing new to report.
We aren’t trying to do the bidding of law enforcement; after all, we believe strongly in the public’s right to know and take issue with withholding information at every turn, unless doing so is for the greater good.
At this point in all those investigations, however, what officers know that they’ve not divulged is, as Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Pope noted, pieces of information that can help law enforcement verify the validity of those providing tips and help lead, we all hope, to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
When information is available, we’ll always report it; when we know something is vital to the public’s interest, we’ll alert readers through the newspaper and on our website; and when officers have been mum for far too long, we will press them for the answers we believe the public deserves to have.
But we will also work with them for that greater good. Our citizens safety is always utmost in our minds, as is their right to know. We will guard both carefully, just as we believe city and county law enforcement do each and every day.