I was an opinion columnist for University of Maryland’s student newspaper The Diamondback for three semesters before I graduated. The columns I wrote are still up on the web archive, but I’d rather not depend on The Diamondback to host them indefinitely. Thus, I have decided to repost them on this blog, not only to archive them in a place under my control, but also so the readers here can get a glimpse of my writing from college. Here is the fifth of my opinion columns, A wrenching decision, originally published May 9, 2006.
Recently, it was revealed that at least six people knew information about a high-profile murder for the better part of a year without anyone going public with it. Though everyone has been paying attention to what the murderer, his friends and the family of the victim may have been thinking, not many seem to wonder about the anonymous tipster, who, upon learning of this secret, made the incredibly difficult decision to go public with it. What internal wars might he or she have waged? What follows is a possible account of his or her story.
Have you ever been let in on a terrible secret? One so dark and wrenching that lives hang in the balance? We’re not talking about trivial bedroom squabbles – we’re talking about arson, death – yes, even murder.
You’ve become friends with a tight-knit group of people. You like them and seem to be fitting in well. You thought you knew all there was to know about them, but one drunken, dreary night, something you were totally unsuspecting of comes up: One of your friends knows a murderer. And all the rest of them know it.
You remember hearing about an off-campus house catching fire last year. One student was killed and another seriously injured. It was ruled an arson shortly thereafter and buzz flew across the campus. But in the months to come, no new leads presented themselves and the case was nearly shelved, unsolved. Yet half a dozen people knew the truth and did nothing.
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