A thoroughly unfortunate discussion sows seeds of suspicion about neighbors and arson
COLUMBIA, 6/5/12 (Beat Byte) -- Talk about throwing Waters onto a fire.
"We should be pleased cries of 'arson!' were absent after the big fire at the Brookside on College apartment building at Walnut Street and College Avenue," Trib publisher Hank Waters wrote in a Friday editorial that planted suspicion on nearby neighbors by dropping loaded hints in almost every sentence.  
Waters even suggested -- by protesting too much, as the adage goes -- that the neighborhood association might have "sponsored" the flameout.
The editorial is just as notable for what it leaves out:  the possibility of an accident, or another arsonist.  On the Tribune's own pages, readers have posted their own suspicions about the apartment's owners, going on about insurance claims and past due loans. 

"After all the criticism expressed by neighbors, immediate suspicion crossed many minds," Waters wrote. "Even if suspicious origin or outright proof of arson is found, that will not prove the neighborhood was responsible. Indeed, members of the nearby North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association would be the last to sponsor any such thing."
Since that's true, why even bring it up?

"Torching the building might have appealed to a psychopathic arsonist, but not to an organization arguing over zoning rights."
Talk about stating the obvious as a backhanded defense.
"Arson is a heinous crime," Waters concludes. Whatever investigators find, "assume it will say nothing about complicity of neighbors."
With this editorial, investigators don't have to say anything about neighbors and arson.

Johnny Arson Seed, bless his dark heart, already has.