In the investigation of the disappearance of former Centre County “chattering class,” as I use it, refers to those of us that comment on the case publicly, on the Internet. This includes posters on message boards and bloggers. Yes, I’m part of the “chattering class.”
A lot of bad things can be said about the chattering class. They hide behind, in the words of my predecessor, “jolly pirate” screen names. They come up with loony conspiracy theories. They believe only what they want to believe, if it supports their theory; they often have tunnel vision otherwise. They delve into the realm of psychics and paranormal phenomenon. They use pseudoscience (which ends up undermining their point, half the time). The have favorite suspects that have long dismissed by, well, everyone. They can be sarcastic and dismissive. They love flaunting their seeming inherent intellectual superiority over others, often using pretentious Latin phrases (well, that’s just me).
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Far more good things can be said about the chattering class. First, and foremost, they help keep the Gricar disappearance in the news. This blog does that, but it isn’t the only one. There is another one here and someone with actual law enforcement experience, Slamdunk, did a series on the Gricar case (along with a guest blog here). As I pointed out, in a prior blog 1, for many months during the four and a half years in the Gricar case, the public discussion of case took place on the Internet.
Second, many of the bloggers do research. Sometimes it pays off, like the reference to Mel Wiley; the descriptions on message boards also prompted Pamela West, author of 20/20 Vision, to look at the similarities between that book and the case. 2 Sometimes it doesn’t, but it does eliminate possibilities. After prolonged discussion about the Prison Board meeting Mr. Gricar attended on 4/14/05, one poster, Cinderella, went to the Courthouse and got the minutes of the meeting3; she also discovered that, despite a misleading statement from another Prison Board member, Mr. Gricar had attended the three prior meetings that year. The minutes showed nothing unusual. While this wasn’t earth shattering, it eliminated numerous possibilities. There have been others, from others in the chattering class.
Third, the chattering class looks at possible new avenues for investigation; a number have been listed in various entries. Fellow blogger, Slamdunk, did a guest blog on some suggestions4. One person I generally disagree with, a poster with a screen name Politgal, recently posted about a new DNA analysis technique, which might be able to determine physical characteristics from DNA.5 This might include any DNA found on cigarette butts found near the Mini Cooper. That could be useful if the same person who dropped the ash in the car also dropped one or more of the cigarette butts. Many others have made good suggestions.
While the chattering class has its failures and problems, on the balance, they render valuable service to the Gricar investigation. That makes the chattering class one of the unsung heroes of the Gricar investigation.
[This concludes the “Unsung Heroes” series]
3 The minutes are public record and Cinderella was entitled, by law, to get a copy.