Friday, July 29, 2005

Here's Something To Write About - Suicide At The Miami Herald

Only in Miami.

A recently convicted veteran former politician currently under indictment in both state and federal court walks into the lobby of The Miami Herald, and shoots himself in the head. Photographers are only steps away and gather to take tomorrow's front page photo of a dying politician in a suit laying in a pool of his own blood.

People in this country are charged, written about, convicted and quietly go off to jail every day.

But every once in a while, someone can't take it, and we realize the harsh reality of being in the claws of the government and media.

Veteran former politician Arthur E. Teele, Jr. couldn't take it anymore, and on a seemingly normal Miami afternoon this week, he entered the lobby of the newspaper that spent months writing about his public corruption investigation and arrest, trial and conviction on other charges, and the last 5 days writing about his recent federal indictment on money laundering and other federal offenses, and said figuratively "you wanted me, here I am, write about this."

Now, people question why. Was it the loss of a career, reputation, mounting legal bills, the possibility of prison for a 59 year old former king of the political scene and hero to many in Miami's blighted Overtown community? Was is the constant barrage of news stories about his criminal charges, personal life, and allegations of sexual affairs and drug use?

The answer is simple - yes, yes, yes, yes.

We all take falls from grace for granted. Living on the top of a mountain and then living at the bottom of a sewer while the media is watching is more than many can take.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall is defined by the suicide of Art Teele.

There is much discussion of who's at fault between the prosecutors and the newspaper.

Prosecutors are in the business of investigating and charging people with crimes, and newspapers are in the business of reporting news, or what is deemed news.

Someone mentioned to me that both these institutions should have exercised some "discretion."

That made me laugh.

But not too hard.