29 April 2009

Small Towns

While I love living in a small town, there is one aspect of small town life that really gets under my skin. The local small town newspapers are crossing a line when they print personal information about anyone involved in an altercation with the law - even if the person in question is not at fault.

Each day in our local paper, I see not only the names and towns of people who have been involved in traffic accidents, domestic disturbances, or other incidents involving law enforcement, but also listed are their street addresses and their ages.

Maybe this is some kind of a potential deterrent to would-be criminals? Drive drunk and we'll print your name in the paper. Hit your wife and all your neighbors will know about it. But is the newspaper crossing a privacy line?

Several years ago, my mother-in-law, who lives in a small town in Rhode Island, was in a traffic accident that was not her fault. But in that town, as in ours, names, ages, and addresses of everyone involved are printed in the paper. So my spunky mother-in-law, as she was giving her information to the policeman, asked him not to list her age because she didn't want her age in the newspaper. It wasn't even that she cared if anyone knew how old she was - she just didn't want it there in black and white through no fault of her own.

I can't say I blame her. I don't see this working as a deterrent, but I do see privacy issues that are troubling. As if the powers-that-be didn't already know enough about us. You know, from the internet. Blogs and all that. :)

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes


Antique Mommy said...

In small town Texas, it would go something like this:

"Bessie Mae and her dog Lulabelle, the weiner dog she picked up at the pound, were on their way to Walmart to get a Smithfield ham, 1.99/lb this week, when Billy Dave spilled his Big Gulp and and ran right into the back of Bessie's truck. Lulabelle was sent flying into the front seat, but she seems to be fine. Bessie was so darn fire mad she got out of her truck and whapped Billy Dave upside the head with her church bulletin. Bessie says she is 39, Billy Dave is 24 and Lulabelle is 7. Please pray for them."

Laura said...

Yep, the Police Beat in the Bar Harbor Times is such a gossip rag that they have actually printed BOOKS with the funniest quips. And I don't know who Antique Mommy is, but she's hysterical!

jessica said...

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