|On the press coverage of Nick Adenhart's tragic death|
Written by Rob Swift (Contact & Archive) on April 14, 2009
I am a realist; enough so to understand that this is the business of reporting the news. Once a story is outdated, it gets put on the shelf. Trust me, we will hear more about this story, but only if it is newsworthy. I just wish we would hear what is important and not what is considered “good copy”.
Not to take anything away from Adenhart, but what about Courtney Stewart or Henry Pearson? How is Jon Wilhite doing? I have read that the former Cal States Fullerton catcher’s condition is improving. Outside of the local media though, which is doing a great job, we will not find much about the lives lost.
Stewart wanted to be a Sports Journalist and was described by her mother as a great babysitter who loved children. Pearson was the co-captain of his high school baseball team and got the chance to work with his idol Vin Scully as an intern with Fox Sports. He wanted to become a sports agent. Wilhite was twice voted “Teammate of the Year” for the Titans and still goes back to his High School to cheer on the baseball team and give pointers to the players.
I have also heard on sports radio that Andrew Gallo is a murderer. I don’t know if he is a murderer; I am pretty sure he is an alcoholic though. Because only someone with a disease of this nature would drive a mini-van under the influence with a suspended license, and then flee from the scene of an accident he allegedly caused.
Make no mistake, not for a second do I defend what Gallo has allegedly done; it was a deplorable and selfish act and he should be punished without any reservation. But Andrew Gallo is not your normal person; he is an alcoholic and alcoholism is a disease whether you believe it or not. This is not my opinion; the Center for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine and others have all come to this conclusion. However, it is a disease that can be arrested.
I am certain that when Gallo attended his court ordered rehabilitative treatment following his first DUI, he was given the tools to keep his alcoholism in check. Additionally I am sure he was told that although his disease was not his fault, his recovery was his responsibility. If we make the effort to get a better understanding of this disease, it could open the door for us to make changes that are needed. 12,998 people were killed in DUI related accidents in 2007; that is more than 35 people per day.
So mourn for the Adenhart, Stewart, and Pearson families and the pain they will go through. If you’re inclined to do so, say a prayer for John Wilhite, he will need it as he fights for his life. Then, try doing the unthinkable and challenge yourself; pray for the Gallo family because they just became the owners of a lifetime of unsolicited negativity. And what of Andrew Gallo? I can only say that I personally hate the disease of alcoholism, not the alcoholic.