I couldn’t do it. I tried, but I just couldn’t do it.

Had a police report in my hand – went to some trouble to get it – about a family, about some kids (names of the kids were redacted before they let me have the report), young kids, and the family, the mother let’s say, might not have been doing the best job taking care of the kids.

Not hitting or violent or anything, but just not … taking care. An officer took the call, the matter was investigated, DHS was called, it was a story. I could have put it on the front of the paper in the news section, using the dispassionate language of news reporting, typical in recounting a police report. You would have read it, clucked your tongue, perhaps even shook your head over the lack of care and attendant issues of those poor kids, that poor family.

Heck, might of put me in line for some kind of news investigation recognition, an award or something.

Perhaps you and I would meet, have a conversation, perhaps even recall the dispassionate news story. We would both cluck our tongues, shake our heads. It would be interesting, this story, tragic, but interesting despite being revolting.

And I couldn’t do it. Oh I know, news-boy, words guy, editor of the world and all that, you’re supposed to be able to stare down the barrel, write these things up, these lives, these investigations, these problems, these tragedies. But it was just too much.

And here’s what’s interesting: In its own way I am writing about it, here, in this space. It’s a column and by definition is a wider road than the one taken by news stories. So I’m able to tell you about it and share my reaction to it. Best part: And able to do so without any facts which might, as we say in news reporting, tighten up the article. At this point I’d like you to think you’re able to understand my revulsion to the subject of that report. More to the point the revulsion at the idea of having a story like that in a newspaper like this.

I can’t, I couldn’t do it.

(Point of clarification here: Friends, I know some will ask for details, off-the-record information as to who or what was in the report when we meet. I like you, and I enjoy our friendship, but I can’t. It’s just … it’s just a story I don’t want to tell. City agencies are dealing with it, as are state agencies. You and me, let’s just stand back and let them handle it. Our tongue clucking will do nothing to move this forward.)

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let’s consider the bigger picture here: We have stories of purported robbery (a case still to be tried), of changes to the 911 system state-wide should legislation come to pass, stories of, yes, a man who says more about Clinton than his name or history alone could relate, and of course the story, not just of a terrible storm but of a community recovering from it. News and information just inches from this sentence. Typed it up myself.

I’m not opposed to hard truth, nor ugly realities, not, even, opposed to relating these things in the dispassionate language of news. (Granted, storm and basketball use a more decorated language than straight news, but those are the type of story which warrant that treatment.)

It’s just, honestly, reading about those kids, I just couldn’t. Some stories you don’t want to tell at the dinner table, you know?