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Breaking news is shocking, tragic

By Staff | Feb 26, 2012

In last week’s Editor’s Notebook column I explained how our website could be used as a source of daily updates for our readers.

Never did I envision it would get such heavy use so quickly.

We were updating ‘Breaking News’ reports on the website several times a day on Monday and Tuesday.

Of course, it is not very often that a murder happens in our quiet, peaceful community.

Tragedies such as this are usually something we see as news in much larger communities than Blue Earth.

Although, it is not unheard of here.

There have been several homicides in Blue Earth and Faribault County over the past 10 to 20 years.

There was a stabbing in Winnebago just a few years ago, and there was a murder in Blue Earth at the AmericInn.

Another homicide happened a number of years ago in the Winnebago, Huntley area.

Of course, there was the Jane Doe case of a murder victim’s body found in the ditch along I-90 back in 1980.

And, long-time Blue Earth residents can recall a murder at the drive-in in Blue Earth back in the 1960s.

So, a homicide is not all that rare in the county.

But, that makes it no less shocking and tragic for the families involved.

And, newsworthy.

It is not often that half a dozen television satellite trucks and reporters descend upon the town. Plus newspaper reporters and cameramen from around the southern Minnesota and Twin Cities area.

They were all seeking the full story about the crime, and were expressing frustration that it was not forthcoming.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), local Blue Earth police and the Faribault County Sheriff’s office was not giving out much information.

I would imagine they were plenty busy with investigating the crime scene and attempting to solve the homicide and take someone in under arrest.

Which they did.

There have been some comments on the lack of information being released by the authorities.

Most of the criticism centers on a lack of public information, especially about warning local residents to take necessary precautions.

I would imagine people were taking plenty of precautions without having to be told by someone to do so.

Plus, many residents suspected that this was not some random home invasion and murder. Turns out, they were right; it was not.

The second criticism has to do with the fact that the law enforcement agencies made it sound like it was a random act, giving out details such as a masked man entering the home in the middle of the night.

That had a lot of people very upset and very nervous as well. It is something many people will tell you is their number one fear. Or their biggest nightmare.

It is why we all lock our doors at night, right?

More could have been done to try and dispel the fears of the public. We tried to do our best to send out information as soon as we had it, posting it as soon as we knew something.

Then there is the rumor mill part of this story. It was running at full steam for two days.

Some of the stories around town turned out to be true, some did not.

In this day and age, rumors are not just assigned to the coffee shops. Local Facebook pages were all filling up fast as well.

We tried at the Register to stick to just the known facts, and post them as quickly as we could on our website as ‘Breaking News.’

We felt it was important to keep the local people as informed of what was going on as we could.

Since we are not a daily newspaper, our best tool for doing so was the website, Facebook and Twitter.

If you are not accessing us on these forms of electronic communication, we suggest you do so.

One more thing.

While we all have an active curiosity about what is going on in our community, let us try to always bear in mind that this is a horrible, awful, despicable event.

Someone in our town was murdered and others severely injured.

Whether we knew them or not, these were someone’s children, and they were the parents of children.

This is a very, very sad day for Blue Earth and all of us who call this place home.

We all thought it couldn’t happen here.

But, it did.