From My Desk
By Keven Graves
Nisqually Valley News
Published: Friday, June 3, 2011 1:37 PM PDT
Any loss of human life is tragic, and Sally J. Paulsen’s unusual death is no exception.
Paulsen, 53, died after she fell into a barrel in which she was apparently storing food for an emergency.
According to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the cause of death is apparently accidental, but, officially, the cause and manner of death are pending toxicology results, which could take six to eight weeks.
Paulsen, who lived on Neat Road in Yelm, was a student at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment.
Clearly, preparing for a natural disaster is something that many people are doing, whether or not they’re students of RSE. That’s just a sign of these times.
However, RSE and its founder, channeler JZ Knight, are high profile players, not only locally, but nationally. Knight and her spokesman rely on her celebrity and leverage to promote the school and Knight herself.
Yes, Knight is a celebrity. With celebrity comes a higher level of public interest and scrutiny.
However, when it comes to answering questions, Knight’s spokesman wants it both ways — dispense the positive, ratchet down on and/or control the potentially negative.
Historically, this approach backfires because the reading public ultimately catches on. People can read between the lines.
As part of our coverage of the Paulsen story, Nisqually Valley News Assistant Editor Megan Hansen contacted the school’s spokesman Wednesday. He refused to offer any insight into what emergency food storage practices the school suggests to its students.
True to form, the best that RSE’s spokesman could come up with was something along the lines of, “check our website.”
A quick search on deadline of Knight’s website failed to produce pertinent answers to the question. What we reported in the newspaper was all of the information we had available at press time. RSE’s spokesman clammed up knowing the press was waiting to roll.
Over the years, I’ve worked with many a spokesman. Typically, it is in the interest of their employer and community, to be helpful and answer questions an average reader might have.
Those are the basis of most questions we have: What would the reader ask? What do people want to know about?
Some spokesmen and spokeswomen are better at couching their responses in the most positive way. Fair enough. Few and far between, though, is the professional spokesperson who essentially throws up the “talk to the hand” gesture in response to even the most basic questions.
Regardless, Paulsen’s death is indeed tragic and sad. Our sympathies go to her family and friends. It says something that the RSE spokesman couldn’t even see fit to offer condolences for the story. Rather, the next day, after deadline, a carefully-phrased response was issued.
The greatest tribute to any life is for people to recognize their value to the human race. Sally Paulsen died under unusual circumstances, and the failure to answer questions last week only fuels the fires of suspicion about RSE and its practices.
The rumors will persist, and people will continue to wonder what goes on out there. It doesn’t help that RSE’s spokesman is unable or unwilling to answer basic questions that even the most uninterested reader would have.
Yelm Online > Archives > Opinion > Editorials > Lack of answers only helps fuel suspicions
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