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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nick Fish, Campbell & The Language of Outrage

Posted by Matt Davis on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Local attorney Chris O'Connor writes, drawing attention to similarities in the language used by Parks Commissioner Nick Fish over two rather different incidents. "While generally I am not happy about people vandalizing a city park by building their own trail and cutting down trees," O'Connor writes, "the statements by City Council member Nick Fish on the issue are disturbing when compared to his more hesitant statements regarding the shooting of Aaron Campbell." Compare Commissioner Fish on this topic :

"I wish to express my deep regret over the death of Aaron Campbell. This young man should not have died. As the parent of two children, I cannot imagine the anguish and sense of loss experienced by his family. I fully support the announced plans of Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Chief Rosie Sizer to conduct a thorough, timely and completely transparent investigation of this tragedy. I endorse making their findings and recommendations available to the public immediately.I also support the ongoing efforts to strengthen civilian oversight of the Police Bureau, and to make it more independent..." [from KATU]

To Commissioner Fish on the new topic:
"It's outrageous, actually," he said Tuesday."This is nothing less than vandalism of our natural areas, and it will not be tolerated and the fact it happened in a pristine wildlife habitat makes it all the more outrageous." [From today's Oregonian] and "Nick Fish: “This kind of vandalism to our natural areas will not be tolerated. Our director of security is investigating. We will cooperate with law enforcement — we’re going to find out who did this. This was a significant act of vandalism.” [OPB News today]

"Fish knows how to use the word outrage and announce that certain behavior will not be tolerated," O'Connor writes. "But one statement is passive - a tragedy has occurred and it is sad for the family and we should try to understand what happened. The other is active - we will stop the outrageous activity - we are going to get the guys who did this. Which set of statements implies that the wrongdoer will be punished?"

Got a news tip? Batter up! Meanwhile I hope Commissioner Fish responds to this post when he gets round to checking his Google alerts.

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