Holding back information | VailDaily.com

Holding back information

Don Rogers

Police and bankers are a little sore at us for reporting the amount that “Dumb and Dumber” stole from WestStar in Vail nearly a year ago.Their logic is that knowing the amount might encourage other bad guys to try the same.The notion of holding back information the public wants to know runs just about opposite of journalism’s current, though. Right after who, where, what, when, how, did anyone get hurt and have they caught the robbers yet, well, folks want to know how much loot they took.Holding back information on this pretense also is a bit slippery. Our officials aren’t supposed to determine what information they think the public is mature enough to handle. There’s some potential for abuse in that thinking. Of course, investigators do have legitimate reasons to withhold information to further their chances of catching bad guys. But this can bleed into the next step of aiming not to encourage anyone to commit crimes.If there truly were a direct link here, there’d be an awful lot of movies, shows, books and so on we’d never see – for our own good. The far greater encouragement for a criminal would seem to be the colder calculation of whether they’d get away with it.A typical bank robbery nets about $2,000. “Dumb and Dumber” somehow bumbled into $130,000 nine months ago.Shouldn’t the real issue be how they were able to snatch that much? Maybe public knowledge helps spur better security. Embarrassment has its uses, too. Vail, Colorado

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