Opinions | “divided, but” and “a duty to warn”

divided, but friends just the same | Yesterday, a friend and I had a phone chat about a host of Columbia topics. The friend and I have divergent opinions about a singular topic however, and we’ve agreed to agree to not touch on that topic which can be incendiary. Some might say, how can that be? How can we have civil, friendly, funny talks with someone who holds diametrically opposed positions?

We think it works because we hold similar viewpoints and passions about so many other equally important items that are local in nature. We find our friend to be witty, interesting, passionate, informed, engaged and concerned for local issues.

Having differences of viewpoints, for us, is like adding the sounds many instruments to form an orchestra. Or like adding lots of ingredients to make an exceptionally tasty dish. Or having “different” persons discussing “different” viewpoints. Sure there are disagreements from time to time, and they disrupt the relationship for a while. But, when there’s a burning issue about something that is important, something local that both of can impact, there’s conversation.

We respect and value our relationship … and we respect and value our differences. For all the right reasons.

(SOURCE: Columbia Spy)

A duty to inform | In US law, there are numerous cases that deal with implied and explicit duty to warn and inform. Physicians, psychiatrists, product manufacturers and nearly all fields have this obligation. So, too, do the police.

“The public presumes that a police authority, as a professional ‘protector”, holds special ‘expert’ or professional knowledge (like the manufacturer) and relies on the police to use that knowledge for the control of risk. This dynamic of knowledge and reliance is inherent in the relationship between protection authorities and the public, 115 the public funds protection authorities to manage risks on their behalf. In their role as expert risk controllers — as protectors — the police acquire knowledge that no-one else has, a gap which may be highly dangerous to certain people in certain circumstances and which the police are uniquely and effectively able to fill through warning.” (Source: “Duty to protect; duty to control and the duty to warn” by Margaret Isabel Hall)

All of this makes us wonder why Columbia’s Police Department only yesterday released this information to the public:

“On Sunday, June 21, 2020 at or about 1:53 am, a burglary occurred at Stover’s News Agency located at 24 N. Third Street in Columbia.  Two subjects approached the business from the front and broke the front store window with a brick.  A third subject was noted to be standing in the area and looked to be serving as a lookout.  The two subjects that approached the store entered the store through the window after breaking it and stole several items.”

Columbia Spy published the above photo on June 21, the day of the “burglary.” Why is there a four day delay in the Police Department’s duty to warn Columbia’s citizens?

One comment

  1. It is refreshing to hear other adults are able to remain friends despite disagreements on some topics. I fear I may have lost friends because we don’t see eye to eye on a singular issue. As adults it is important to remember that just because someone does not agree with something you may have done or an opinion you may have, it does not mean they no longer like you as a person.

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