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Opening Arguments

A good story ignored

There was quite a drama in South Bend. A man climbed a TV tower, and a three-hour standoff with police ensued. The South Bend Tribune published a rather dry -- that is to say, dull -- account of the incident, which it identifies as coming from a WSBT-TV report:

The man has been identified as a 42-year-old from South Bend. He climbed down after a standoff with police for more than three hours. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation after authorities found a gash on his head from climbing up or down the tower.

The rest of the story is just as sanitized. The man is not identified by name, although it is mentioned in passing that he also climbed the tower in 1989. He called a friend on his cellphone to say he was either going to jump or get in a standoff. Most of the last half of the story is dedicated to assurances from the management of the station that, by golly, they're very safety conscious, and they do everything they possibly can to keep things like this from happening. Then, at the end of the story, there is this (the bold is theirs): Because of the sensitive nature of this story, The Tribune is not allowing comments to be posted. What? There was nothing at all sensitive in this account. There must be a lot more to the story.

And there is. In an account on WSBT-TV's website, we learn that the man is 42-year-old Steven Lowell, that he has a history of mental problems, was in fact in a mental institution when he was younger, has battled drug problems, is sometimes suicidal. That friend he called -- Shania Hunder -- was quoted:

"He just said