Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Open Forum: What happened to compassion?

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At around 9 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2007, two detectives from the Fredrick Police Department knocked on my front door, looking for more information about my 23-year-old son.

They had found a decomposed body, and everything they found with the body had them believing that the body could be my son. I sat in front of these officers in shock and gave them everything I could think of at the time to help them.

My phone rang before the officers could make their way out of my front gate. At first my heart dropped to the floor, thanking God and hoping it was my son calling me.

But it was a reporter asking for a comment about my son. I was in shock. The police were not out of my front yard, and they weren't sure if it was my son, yet a reporter was calling me. I asked the reporter not to print his name because the police were not sure if it was him yet. And I had no comment.

The next morning, and every morning for the next four days, my son's name was on the front page. I read the paper online every day.

At first, my heart went out to the poor children who found the body, holding out hope that the body found was not my son's. It must be hard for a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old to forget what they found if they read about it every day.

Day after day, I read the comments, and I asked myself, What happened to the compassion in this world?

The comments online showed no concern for the children who found the body or the family. There was everything from people wanting more light, somebody to clean up the litter, and more police in the area. At one point, people were stating my son was homeless, using drugs and had a drinking problem.

It is a shame. If just one person would find some compassion, just maybe some good could come out of this. If you want more lights, hold a fundraiser. If you think someone should clean the area more, pick a date, and run an ad in the paper for people to come out help clean it up.

My son was not homeless, he did not use drugs, and he did not have a drinking problem. He was a young man who worked hard every day to pay his bills. He loved his family and life in general.

I still wait for the autopsy and DNA testing to tell me that the body found on Oct. 6 is my son, how he died, and when he died.

And I still wonder what happened to compassion in the world.

Rest in peace, my son.

Susan Gossage, Frederick