Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Police in Ferguson, Missouri, could have saved their community six long nights of grief if they’d only come out early and explained what they knew about the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown, including the identity of the officer responsible.
Instead, the missing information was greeted with withheld trust, and things spiraled rapidly out of control. Fuller and franker information wouldn’t have stilled the anger or ended the debate. But it could have shifted the whole tone of the week, flooding the shadows of growing suspicion with the bright light of knowledge and facts.
Why do people in power have such a tough time learning that?
The details will come out eventually. They always do. Nothing that happened the first day will get any better with time. It all just festers, fueling the rumors, gnawing at the trust.
As the mayhem in Ferguson rumbles violently on, it’s a lesson leaders everywhere can learn. Say what you know. Take the heat now. Withholding will only make it worse.
1. They’ll get tired of asking.
2. They’ll understand we know best.
3. They’ll move on to another story.
4. They’ll trust us more if we keep out mouths shut.
5. This way we won’t have to lie.
ASKED AND UNANSWERED
So that’s what happens when 13.57 inches of rain slams LI? Now we know and wish we didn’t . . . Why is Bay Shore Commons not advertising a Sinkhole Sale? Deep, deep discounts! . . . Has the latest giant drug bust — yearlong investigation, 22 arrests, high-fives all around — put any actual dent in the Suffolk County drug supply? Or have other dealers moved in already as they always have before? . . . Where is it written that Long Island must have a certain number of hot summer days? Who knew the answer was “nowhere”? . . . 95 percent of LIRR workers approved a new four-year deal? What’s the message in the lopsided margin? A majority would have swallowed less? . . . The old flower deliveryman robbery trick? So now we need some floral arrest imagery? How about, “Things aren’t coming up roses for Daniel Ratliff, 36, of Bay Shore, charged in a Great Neck Plaza home invasion”? . . . Regular seats, then stadium seats, now full leather recliners at the Broadway Multiplex Cinemas in Hicksville? What’s next in movie theater comfort? Queen-size beds? . . . A political corruption museum in Albany? Makes sense, but will it include a spacious Long Island wing?
THE NEWS IN SONG
“Tell the Truth”
LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK
Do immigrant students do better with an immigrant school-board president? There’s not much science on that, but Helen Moss begins her term with a real role-model’s biography in Brentwood. Born in Belize to a Honduran dad and Belizean mom, she arrived in Brentwood in 1977, got active at St. Anne’s Church and the Brentwood Union Free School District. She raised two kids who grew up to be teachers and found herself on the long-troubled school board. Rising to president last month, she’s now laser-focused on $350-million finances, helping to duck budget cuts and building a comprehensive English learners’ program. Hers is an undeniable immigrant success story in a district whose 18,000 kids are mostly first- or second-generation immigrants, many though not all from Latin America. If Helen Moss can do it, they can too.