A Woman's View: 'I wish I had not known' — the tragic details of the Powell case
Do we need to know gruesome details?
Read an additional perspective from Tanya Vea here.
"I would rather not have known."
If you had been given the option to not know the horrific details of what Josh Powell did to his boys before they died from carbon monoxide poisoning, details I will not repeat here, would you have chosen that option? My question may be naive. I suppose you would likely have learned the gruesome details someday, but perhaps on a day of your choosing.
It may strike you as a strange question for a woman in the news business to be asking. I suppose it is.
I woke up Tuesday morning to an email describing what he had done to those precious boys, boys who by happenstance were the same ages as my own, and I wept sitting on the side of the bed until I feared I might have to call in sick. I was unsure if I could say the word "hatchet" over and over again for four hours.
When my shift was over, I searched my heart and mind to know if sharing those details was necessary. Then I asked some of the women who frequent "A Woman's View" for their opinion.
"Gruesome details are not only unnecessary but add to the desensitization that so pervades our culture. I have an immediate visceral response to the term 'hatchet' when connected to blows to young children." — Margo Provost, owner of Log Haven restaurant
"While I would have preferred not to know, that information is part of the story. Frankly, it confirms for me who was responsible for Susan Powell's disappearance." — Francine Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce
"Detailed information would have come out. It would have been unavoidable. I feel that KSL might have been the softest landing spot for that ugliness." — Sally Dietlein, executive producer Hale Center Theatre
"I personally did not need to know those details. It hurts my heart to know there is such evil in this world... as a journalist, I get it, but as a mom, I just can't handle it." —Jill Atwood, public affairs officer, VA Salt Lake City HCS
"It was too much information for me. I have two grandsons who are 5 and 7, and the images of what happened to these two boys have been haunting me, and will probably continue to do so." — former Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini
"I think stating the details so graphically, so immediately is information-sensory overload. Those gruesome facts, if released at all, could have been done much later." — Cecilia Mitchell, senior vice president, Zions Bank
"Many people insist that the media give all details regardless of how gruesome they may be. I don't need to hear them." — Pamela Atkinson, special adviser to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
"Personally, because it was two little boys, I would rather not have heard the details that now stick with me unnecessarily." —Sharlene Hawkes, president, Remember My Service Military Productions
"I'm not sure I want to hear all the gruesome details, but in the end they will come out. So I would rather hear it from my local news than national." — Lori Chillingworth, director of business banking for Zions Bank
"I think it needs to be reported, but how it is reported matters. The listener needs a warning and a substantial pause so they can prepare themselves to adjust their dial. I hurt more when I heard it than when I read it. Reading is silent. Listening is more powerful. ... We yearn for greatness as a society. As long as this type of evil exists we will never be great." — Natalie Gochnour, executive vice president and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber
I know that my news and program directors discussed and debated this topic before deciding to share the details on KSL Radio. It was not a decision they made lightly. I appreciate the sensitivity they gave the subject matter. I am not sure if I could or would have made the same decision, which is likely why I am not the news or program director.
I wonder if it would have been sufficient to say, "The preliminary autopsy shows that Josh Powell attacked his two sons before they died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The details are too horrible to share here. If you would like to read them, they are on our website at KSL.com or DeseretNews.com." Something of that nature. So we give the audience a chance to go to a source to get the full details if they so desire, and we also protect them and the children who may be present.
I know. Naive.
"I wish I had not known."
Amanda Dickson co-hosts "Utah's Morning News with Grant and Amanda" on KSL Newsradio. Amanda also hosts the award-winning program "A Woman's View," heard Sunday mornings on KSL.
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