Step­ping up

The Compass - - Editorial -

Agood ques­tion might be, what would you do if you were in his shoes?

What would you do if you were Dwight Ball, head­ing into a pro­vin­cial elec­tion that could make you premier while your daugh­ter was in the throes of an opi­oid ad­dic­tion? What’s worse, what would you do if you thought you had just rec­og­nized her boyfriend, wear­ing a coat stolen from you, as the sus­pect on sur­veil­lance video from a bar where a man had been shot to death dur­ing a rob­bery?

Ball went to po­lice and re­vealed what he had seen, and more: that he and his daugh­ter had been threat­ened by drug deal­ers, had their cars dam­aged, and that Ball’s prop­erty and credit card num­bers had been stolen and used to pay for drug debts.

Two years after this all took place, and only after Bran­don Phillips was con­victed of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in the bar shoot­ing, were court records un­sealed that laid out some of the many things Ball was deal­ing with in the lead-up to the 2015 elec­tion.

Premier Ball de­scribed go­ing to the po­lice as his civic re­spon­si­bil­ity. His ac­tions cer­tainly had an ef­fect on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, be­cause the in­for­ma­tion was used, in part, to ob­tain a search war­rant that dis­cov­ered the mur­der weapon, a shot­gun, in a search of Phillips’ mother’s home in down­town St. John’s.

“The in­for­ma­tion that I pro­vided wasn’t as premier, it wasn’t … even as leader of the Op­po­si­tion at the time, it was clearly do­ing the role that I felt that I should do in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the death of Larry Wellman,” Ball told The Tele­gram.

What the doc­u­ments also show is that the tur­moil of drug use — and the huge bur­den it puts on fam­ily mem­bers of the ad­dicted — can strike pretty much any­where.

There are many things that be­come talk­ing points and po­lit­i­cal foot­balls in the harsh world of demo­cratic pol­i­tics. There might be an op­por­tu­nity seen here by some­one to score points by ques­tion­ing Ball’s judg­ment over the way he han­dled the ac­tions of his daugh­ter’s boyfriend, even be­fore the mur­der took place.

Let’s hope no one de­cides to seize this as a po­lit­i­cal op­por­tu­nity.

It is too per­sonal and tragic to be kicked around that way.

You don’t choose your fam­ily mem­bers, and you don’t choose the crises they find them­selves in. When your fam­ily mem­bers are in des­per­ate trou­ble, you’re des­per­ate, too.

The po­lice asked for the public’s help. Dwight Ball gave them that help. A man was ar­rested for mur­der, and con­victed, in part, as a re­sult of that help. That is the way it is sup­posed to work.

So ask your­self the ques­tion again. If you were in Dwight Ball’s shoes, what would you do?

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