09/04/2007

Richard Jewell's only crime was trying to help

By Sheryl McCarthy
Newsday

In the photographs accompanying news stories about Richard Jewell's untimely death, he looks like the truly ordinary guy he was in life. He was just unlucky to get caught up in an extraordinary event, and as a result was subjected to a public mauling.

Jewell was performing his security guard's job in an exemplary way when he spotted an unattended backpack in a section of Atlanta's Olympic Park, alerted the police, and helped evacuate the park after a bomb exploded there. But the sweet taste of being hailed as a national hero turned bitter when he became the target of overzealous news organizations that ran with, and hyped, stories about the FBI investigation into whether he had actually planted the bomb.

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