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Opinion: Open Letter to The Dispatch on Karageorge Article

 James Ragland Opinion: Open Letter to The Dispatch on Karageorge Article
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Dear Dispatch Editor,

This letter is in response to the article entitled, “Woman who found Karageorge’s body ‘can’t forget his face’.”
The tragic death of one of our beloved Buckeyes also exposes the brutal reality of those that live in many of Columbus most vulnerable communities. While the headline articulates that the woman found the body of Mr. Karageorge, in fact, as your narrative confirms, the eight year old youngster actually found the body.

This reality presents us with excruciating realities on both sides. The death of Mr. Karageorge, potentially suffering from head injuries that may or may not have been associated with his heroic exploits in athletics, places a pall over our entire area. This young man, hailing from one of Central Ohio’s finest communities, still had troubles that he struggled to overcome in spite of the vast resources available to him from one of the nation’s best athletic departments and medical centers. However, I am also troubled by the extent to which the writer of the article went to desensitize the activities of the family who found him.

Here, we find an eight year old boy on Thanksgiving weekend trolling the rat infested dumpsters of the University District in search of scrap metal. This tragedy, where young children like this one are often taught at an early age the survival skills of hunting for metal to help place food on their table, occurs far too often in a progressive city like Columbus. In reality, the young boy here, potentially in 2nd or 3rd grade, is an example of what many Dispatch readers often describe as someone who should “pull himself up by his own bootstraps.” The level of poverty associated with the practice that led to Mr. Karageorge’s finding should be articulated as a tragedy as well. To describe the results of this family’s hunt as “treasure” is an insensitive response to their need to be “scrappers” in the first place.

The dichotomy of the two cases cannot be ignored. While we all mourn the tragic death of one of our Buckeyes, let’s make certain that the young boy in this story has an opportunity to be a Buckeye in the future. I would hope that the Dispatch would use its resources to make certain that this young boy has the assistance he needs to not only overcome the stress generated from finding Mr. Karageorge, but also the situation that caused him to find the young athlete in the first place.

Two tragedies have been exposed here. One will undoubtedly be a national news story with pundits and experts alike questioning how something like this can happen at Ohio State. The other might fade away into obscurity if we don’t address it and confront it with resources as well. You and your team control most media in Central Ohio. As you are well aware, this is a very powerful tool. I hope that you would use it to consider the needs of Mrs. Mulligan and her young grandson as we all grieve for the Karageorge family.

James C. Ragland
Columbus

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