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Write or wrong


Last month's Cougar helicopter crash that killed 17 people was the dominant news story of last month. From the dramatic rescue of the lone survivor, Robert Decker, through to the outpouring of grief expressed by people from across Newfoundland and Labrador, there were many stories to tell. The latest chapter concerns the publication of a new book getting more attention than it would probably like. Cougar 491 documents the known details of the crash, which occurred 55 kilometres southeast of St. John's.

Last month's Cougar helicopter crash that killed 17 people was the dominant news story of last month. From the dramatic rescue of the lone survivor, Robert Decker, through to the outpouring of grief expressed by people from across Newfoundland and Labrador, there were many stories to tell.

The latest chapter concerns the publication of a new book getting more attention than it would probably like. Cougar 491 documents the known details of the crash, which occurred 55 kilometres southeast of St. John's.

The widow of passenger Derrick Mullowney has provided the book's author, Tom Badcock, with some less-than-desirable media attention.

Rebecca Mullowney, in a letter published in the April 18 edition of The Telegram, wrote that "it is too soon to write such a book and because of the few details available, I feel that this book is being done for a quick buck and the feelings and emotions of those involved are being totally disregarded."

The letter has sparked national media attention for the book, and Mr. Badcock has been forced to publicly defend his decision to write the book.

He has denied the accusation he's out to make an easy dollar on the back of a fresh tragedy. Speaking to the CBC, Mr. Badcock said he wanted to write the book before an out-of-province publisher tried to tackle the subject.

It's an oddly paternal statement, seeming misguided at best and poorly thought out at worst.

The province has certainly taken ownership of the tragedy, as evidenced by callers on open lines shows, people leaving wreaths at various sites, and the non-denominational church service at the Basilica in St. John's, broadcast across the province via radio.

Whether or not a provincial publisher gets first crack at releasing a book on the subject is irrelevant.

Will the public be well served by a book detailing the crash before investigations into the crash are completed, simply because it has a Made in Newfoundland and Labrador tag? Of course not.

Does it benefit the book to publish the obituary for Mr. Mullowney when his widow, contacted twice by the publisher after the crash, requested they not publish it? No.

At 100 pages, including obituaries and what details are out there, the book has the makings of what seems like a cheap keepsake to gather dust under crowded coffee tables. Hopefully, this is not the case, as it would be a disservice to the subject matter.

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