Talk:Boland Hall fire

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full disclosure: I, am related to a defense lawyer working on this case. I worked for a while on the trial preparation and in doing so read most of the legal discovery of the case. I claim no objectivity in this matter. I am disturbed by this article's lack of objectivity. We are approaching the 7th anniversary of the fire and the matter is still open.

This article mischaracterizes the fire as 'deliberately set'. I would direct you to the Star_Ledger for more on this. The author cited 2 articles which were on a defendant's familial link to the mafia. There are plenty of other articles on theories of how the fire started and how the investigation has proceeded. I recommend those instead of ad hominem attacks on someone who happens to be related to a suspected mob figure.

In addition look at the NIST website ( link NIST for more info on dorm fires and upholstery fires in general. The overwhelming majority of fires that start in upholstery are accidental cigarette ignition. In fact NIST has performed numerous tests on college dorm scenarios and exhaustive tests on upholstery. Look again at the news reportage. The Investigators came to the conclusion that the fire was deliberate long before any testing was considered.

Numerous issues arise in this event which make for sensational news. Everyone from the Mafia to the Catholic Church (Seton Hall is a diocesian university) to various gov't agencies (BATF, FBI, NIST) are involved. The defendants are middle class white kids from the suburbs. The most greviously injured individuals were black and Hispanic.

And the 3 boys who were killed way too young - by all accounts wonderful young men. These deaths and injuries call out for justice. But that doesn't mean that these young men who are the defendants did anything.

There is tremendous pressure on Essex County to get a conviction on this - the county with one of the lowest homicide conviction rates in the entire country (I believe next to East LA, the worst in the US). The long shadow of the Catholic Church (Seton Hall is down the street from the seats of one of the 5 largest Archdioceses in the nation) hangs over this as well.

And yet almost 7 years later there is no real conclusion to this. The defendants await trial. All involved await a resolution. If this were a simple cut and dried 'prank', 'mistake' or deliberate act, this would have probably been finished a long time ago.

My personal feeling - again no claims to impartiality - is that there is only the most circumstantial or 'hearsay' evidence. 'Crucial evidence' came from a mafia hitman (at least 7 murders to his credit) - who got out of jail and was relocated with his family and his connected brother for his cooperation. ( See the Star Ledger for more on this.)

This terrible event and its aftermath deserve a much better and much more nuanced treatment. I would be tempted to do it but would not for obvious reasons. In the very least redact the word deliberate in the first line...

--Mpbubb 19:48, 11 July 2006 (UTC)