No need for rush to judgment
by Donald Kaul
Ever since Monday morning, when news of Sheriff John K Blackburn’s arrest on a drunk-driving charge was first made public, we have seen strong opinions both for and against the sheriff emerge.
Just one look at the comments on our Facebook page illustrates the wide gulf between those who say he made a mistake and those who say he must go.
A typical remark in support of Blackburn: “I know people are probably thinking ‘bout time or whatever, but we all have made some mistakes. I know it does look bad, that our sheriff, whose job is to serve and protect against drunk driving, was out drinking and driving. But seriously why badger him and when most of us have done it, some caught and some not. No, it is not right and thank God no one was in a accident. I know he is supposed to be a role model. But how many times has he helped one of us through our mistakes?”
And a typical remark against him: “Yes, that officer is still on the payroll, and he will remain there. People have to learn John K is not the top law official in this state. I mean, my god, he’s sheriff of Floyd County, wow. You drink, you drive, you go to jail. He knew what he was doing. All I can say is IT’S ABOUT TIME TO RESIGN. We need a real sheriff.”
For now, however, we think both opinions are too extreme for the information that is currently available.
Yes, from what we currently know, it looks bad, particularly for an official whose many duties include keeping motorists safe from drunk drivers. There may indeed come a time when Blackburn should resign to avoid further damaging the office of sheriff and the county, and if it does, we will be among those calling for it to happen.
But that time has not yet come. So far, we have only seen one side of the story. There has been no determination of guilt, and Blackburn has yet to offer any explanation for his actions. Those are two things that need to happen (and the second needs to happen very soon) before anyone passes judgment and calls for the will of the voters to be overturned.
For now, however, it would be prudent to await more information.
— The Floyd County Times
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