9 words clarify ‘frozen meat’ detail

By · Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Much has been written and shared about the massive search for two prisoners who boldly escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, almost three weeks ago.

Details have included:

Anyone reading only the headlines or the latest breaking detail might reasonably question the choice of frozen meat. The men were in prison, after all.

But nine simple words in an Associated Press story provide the needed clarity.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told reporters that Joyce Mitchell told investigators she smuggled hacksaw blades, a screwdriver and other tools into the prison by placing them in frozen hamburger meat. He said she then placed it in a refrigerator in the tailor shop where she worked, and a corrections officer brought the meat to Sweat and Matt, who were housed in a section of the maximum-security prison where inmates are allowed to cook their own meals.

It’s not enough to know the “what” (tools) and the “how” (frozen meat). What’s needed is context and clarity. We need to know why frozen meat might make any sense.

That short and simple phrase — neatly tucked in the perfect spot — does the heavy lifting in what is a serious and complex story, one that is unfolding each day with layer upon layer of detail and drama.

This is what is meant by:

At the very moment you question something because you can’t visualize it, or you can visualize it but can’t understand it, stop. Ask. Seek.

Be the person who goes beyond merely telling the facts while getting them out there fast. Instead, show those facts. And put them in their proper place.

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