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FAIR GAME:Thick skin needed, even if it's bare

September 29, 2006|By TOM JOHNSON

You know, I have a pretty thick skin. In the newspaper business you have to, particularly these days.

However, an incident has manifested itself over the past three to four weeks that has become somewhat personal to me.

Let me explain.

There was a late night incident that happened on Little Corona Beach. After calling 911, two local men were found with some pretty substantial injuries following an "assault."

In a series of e-mails about the incident I received the following comments.

"I am surprised and disappointed that the Daily Pilot has chosen to ignore this story, given its shocking nature," one e-mail commented.

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"All I can guess about the Daily Pilot's deliberate ignorance about such a violent crime is that it relates to some kind of fear that people may realize that crime does occur in this area."

One of the victims wrote: "If you look at the police report, nowhere does it describe a fight or brawl, only an attack. I feel it is your responsibility to the community to make this incident public."

From the mother of one of the victims, "What the Daily Pilot has done is let four thugs get away with what could have been murder."

From the father of the same victim came this: "I wish to add my deep concern as to what I consider a dereliction of reporting duty by the Daily Pilot. I am shocked to think that a local daily newspaper that has a 'Daily Log' describing trivial incidents fails to recognize the seriousness of an assault of this nature."

As you can see, there are no names attached to the e-mails above. That's because the victims and their family members requested anonymity, which makes the story hard to report.

So instead, let's review the police record. It's 1:10 a.m. in early September, the police get a 911 call. "Two male subjects have been attacked by four white males who were with a female subject. The suspects were reportedly running up the ramp from Little Corona."

Fortunately, the police have a car in the area and respond within 45 seconds — that's right, 45 seconds. The female officer positions her car at the top of the ramp.

Three other officers respond immediately.

Two of the officers drive down the road and find the two injured victims, but did not find any of the assailants.

So what happened to lead up to this incident?

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