Monday, July 16, 2007

Go ahead and cry

Long-time readers of the Cucking Stool--well, anybody who read as long ago as a week ago Monday--knows that Spot commented on the supposed heroin conflagration in Northfield, at least at Katie reported it. Katie's column that day was based on a wire service report of a press conference by the Northfield police chief. Katie swallowed it without chewing. Spotty said that it was unfortunate that nobody at the press conference seemed to be able to ask a single skeptical question, causing Spot to question the journalistic acumen assembled at the presser, not to mention, of course, Katie.

Now these questions are getting asked:

In the days since the news conference, questions have arisen about the key points made there:

• School authorities have dismissed the notion of a heroin ring at the high school.

• No heroin-possession indictments have been returned.

• Area hospitals report no evidence of young con artists at work.

• The record is mixed on thefts at local colleges, with an increase at Carleton but no such hike at St. Olaf.

Others have raised concerns about the number of young people reportedly using the drug.

Northfield schools Superintendent Chris Richardson, who learned about Smith's news conference only a couple hours beforehand, was dumbfounded by the chief's assessment.

"Our numbers just don't match up," he said.

Richardson added that in the 2006-07 school year there were 15 students referred for drug treatment who were heroin or oxycodone users.

"What I think many of us are questioning is, was this a significant exaggeration of the reality, and if it was, did we end up with a negative impact along with whatever positive there was?" Richardson said.

Boys and girls, your old friend Spotty realizes that, as a dog, his sense of smell is keener than your average human. But this one was such a stinkeroo that even Katie should have caught it.

Weep for the future of journalism.

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