Derrick James Engebretson

Friday, March 03, 2006

Editorials : No time for blame

Editorials : No time for blame
Posted: 12/13/02 8:28 am

December 13, 1998

No time for blame

Boy's loss is painful, looking for a scapegoat won't help

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Derrick Engebretson, the 8-year-old boy lost and presumed dead in the snows of Pelican Butte. Nothing is more tragic than the loss of a child, particularly under such circumstances.

We hope the tragedy isn't compounded by a flurry of blame-placing once the search has ended. There were hints of that at midweek, when some among the searchers suggested the Klamath County Sheriff's Department had not reacted quickly enough nor called in enough help.

Derrick disappeared Dec. 5 during a family hunt for a Christmas tree. The initial search was hampered by a heavy snowstorm and days of additional searching turned up nothing. Helicopters carrying heat-seeking devices were eventually brought in and the call for more manpower went out as the situation grew more desperate.

It is all too much a piece of human nature that, when something goes wrong, we look for someone or something to blame. It's rarely that simple.

We have seen police officers in action searching for or rescuing children and we know there is nothing they place higher in their priorities.

The situation near Pelican Butte, particularly in the early going, was difficult at best, with blustery snowstorms and below-zero temperatures. Many, many volunteers from throughout the region joined the search teams. We should thank them all and be proud that we live in a place where people care for people.

But we should not seek to place blame this time. That would just add to the tragedy.

*Copyright © The Mail Tribune 1998, Medford, Oregon USA


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