Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Where is the compassion?

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

They found a decomposed body, and everything with the body had them believing that it could be my son. I sat in shock and gave them everything I could think of 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.

At first, my heart went out to the poor children who found the body, holding out hope that the body 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 online comments, and I asked myself, What happened to the compassion in this world?

The comments 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.

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 is my son, how he died, and when he died. And I still wonder what happened to compassion in the world.

Susan Gossage, Frederick