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In the Oct. 15, 2008, edition of The News-Democrat, there was an article entitled “Drugs suspected in death of 26-year-old,” by Sharon Graves.
As a friend and former co-worker of Tommy Jones Jr., about whom this article was written, I was compelled to state my sincere disapproval of its content. This piece of journalism came out a few days after the shocking death and funeral of a very young man who will be dearly missed by many friends and family members.
Just after this traumatic week, when many were trying to move on and heal and were already dreading the obituary page of this week’s paper, the good people of The News-Democrat decided to greet them early Wednesday morning with a front-page article that was very upsetting, speculative and misleading.
Not only was Tommy’s obituary picture blown up and in color beside a bold title slandering his name, many facts Ms. Graves wrote were false. People were misquoted and low blows were taken, like stating his traffic violations.
I, for one, am saddened by this disrespect of the deceased and of the mourners who are pressing on without him. I will definitely not let this shoddy article change the way I will remember my friend. He was very smart, and I am glad to have had the privilege of knowing him. He would do anything for you and was liked by almost everyone he met.
I hope people remember the words of Jesus about letting he who is without sin cast the first stone. Tommy was like all of us; he had his problems and made his share of mistakes. I often teased him that he was the most unlucky guy I had ever met, because so many hardships seemed to come his way.
One of Tommy’s favorite quotes was from Richard Nixon, who said, “Only when you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”
Tommy had seen many valleys in his short life; I’m hoping now he is enjoying his amazing mountaintop.
Thank you for your consideration on this matter, and I hope that your newspaper has much better material in the future.