Thursday, August 15, 2013

What It's Like

By the way, I'm looking for a catchier title for these "day in the life" blog entries.  If you have a good idea, feel free to pass it along.

Voltaire and many others have said "with great power comes great responsibility."  I am constantly aware of power and responsibility any time I pick up a microphone, stand before a camera, or sit at my keyboard.

Case in point:  Monday night and Tuesday morning at Walmart in Taylor, pictured above.  Some yutz planted a backpack inside the entrance of the store and ran away.  Keep in mind, the Boston Marathon bomb was a pressure cooker in a backpack.

The Scranton bomb squad was called in.  Walmart was closed for about three hours.  There wasn't anything hazardous in the backpack.  The store reopened around midnight Tuesday morning.

I walked in to the office at about 2:20 AM Tuesday.  Morning producer Thomas informed me my assignment would be to explain the Walmart story.  I paused for a moment.

Yes, people should know about a major disruption at a busy store that's part of America's largest retailer.  On the other hand, I feared making a big deal out of the backpack planting would encourage others to pull similar stunts.  You have to wonder how much Walmart lost in those three hours, how much it cost for the bomb squad to do its thing and search the site.

It's not an easy, black and white decision.  It seems like we argue the same points every spring, when several school districts are hit with bomb scares.  I cringe when those threats come in.  Parents need to know what's going on at their children's schools.  However, those who make threats feed off the publicity.

I tried to take the middle ground-- tell people what happened at Walmart, do it responsibly, and not make a joke out of it.  It wasn't funny.

Police have decent pictures of the guy who left the backpack and the car he used to get to and from the store.  There is no doubt he will be found.  He has a lot of explaining to do.