MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — This guest column by Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper, on the tragic death of Corey Brown, first appeared in the Marshalltown Times-Republican and is posted here by permission of the paper and Chief Tupper.
This past week our community was dealt yet another horrific blow. Corey Brown was a good kid from a great family. This tragedy will forever alter the Brown family and in many ways our community. All of us who call Marshalltown home are hurting. If you are a parent, the senselessness of this event is heartbreaking. Why do things like this happen?
I have witnessed more tragedy than I care to remember or discuss over the course of 26 years working in the law enforcement profession. I have witnessed and investigated unspeakable horrors. I have held the hand of far too many parents as they mourn the loss of a child. Any senseless or unexpected loss of life is difficult to deal with but when a child dies, it hurts in ways that for me are indescribable. When tragedy strikes, we want answers. We want accountability. There must be someone or something to blame. We speculate. We theorize. We pontificate about our own experiences. We convince ourselves we would have done something different to prevent tragedy had it been us in the shoes of those dealt the horrible blow. Maybe this is how we cope. Maybe this is how we try to convince ourselves such horrible things will never happen to us. We know better after all and someone must have done something wrong to cause this.
I am sorry to say sometimes tragedy just happens. It sucks. It hurts. Sometimes there are no explanations, no answers, nobody to blame. It is the harsh reality of life. I hate it. It breaks my heart. Tragedy can, does and will affect all of us at some point in our life. None of us are immune. How will you want people to treat you? Will you hope for a compassionate response?
I have been disappointed in the national media coverage of this recent tragedy. They have sensationalized, and inaccurately reported, irrelevant details in an effort to hint someone must be to blame. Some keyboard warriors on social media have done the same. They all have lacked basic human decency as they push out their theories and speculation. It must stop. This is wrong. The Brown family deserves, and needs our support, our love. They deserve compassion. There is nobody to blame here, folks. Corey Brown did nothing wrong. The Brown family did nothing wrong. They were the victims of unfortunate circumstances that could have just as easily visited our own families. Tragedy sometimes just happens. All you can do is support one another. As community members, we must rise up to support the unfortunate souls touched by tragic events.
The Marshalltown community is a proud and loving community. We all stand with the Browns. We will support them as friends and neighbors as they would support us under similar circumstances. God bless Corey Brown! Please pray for the Brown family.