Somewhere in time, we’ve all asked the question of ourselves, our family and our friends — if someone you know does something wrong, do you tell on them or count on them to own up to their actions?
It’s not a simple answer and gets more complicated with age and the seriousness of the situation.
If your sister pockets a candy bar at the supermarket, do you tell your parents?
If your brother-in-law cheats on his taxes, do you contact the IRS?
If your father is dipping into the church collection basket, do you tell the minister?
If four teens are killed in an alcohol-related car accident and you know who supplied them the alcohol, do you tell the authorities?
What would you do?
Based on last month’s press conference at the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, the Gretna community is struggling with this question. The kids aren’t talking. The parents aren’t talking. Lawyers have been hired.
Is it loyalty or obstructing an investigation?
Is it preventing justice in the eyes of the law or protecting those who are responsible from potential criminal charges?
Sadly, somebody knows what happened the night of June 17 in the hours leading up to the deadly crash along Platteview Road. A cash reward — now up to $14,500 — for information has yet to entice anyone to step forward.
I can’t shake the thought of how this would be playing out if the circumstances were a bit different. What if the investigation pointed to marijuana use as a contributing factor of the accident?
Would it make a difference?
The silence is deafening, as are the hands-over-mouth conversations speculating on the details of that night. Neighbors are sharing rumors and gossip is running rampant, none of which are doing Gretna or the investigation any good.
Some of the commentary on social media suggests the sheriff’s office leave the matter alone because nothing discovered can undo this horrific tragedy. The investigation, some have written, will do more harm than good to families and the community, so let the girls rest in peace.
You know and I know the sheriff’s office cannot turn a blind eye to this matter.
You know and I know the sheriff’s office has a legal obligation to enforce laws, including a state statute that makes providing alcohol to a minor a crime.
Would you be comfortable knowing that the authorities are willing to look the other way when certain crimes are committed by certain people?
What happens if, God forbid, we suffer another deadly accident a year from now? More silence?
There is no way to undo the deaths of the four Gretna girls, nor can anyone assume citing someone for providing alcohol to the minors will prevent another tragedy like this in the future.
Maybe the silence will last a lifetime or maybe the sheriff’s office will get the answers it seeks.
Gretna will decide how this chapter is written.