A look back at the week’s news

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The death of young Texan Camden Hughes is tragic, and the actions that caused the boy’s death are criminal.

But, mixed among the dreadful events surrounding Hughes’ death are remarkable examples of citizen involvement and tremendous police work.

Hughes’ body was left on a rural road in South Berwick last weekend. After his body was found, a witness told police they saw a blue Toyota Tacoma with a Navy insignia on the license plate near that location on Saturday, information police widely reported in the press.

Steve Scipione of North Waterboro heard the news and knew police were searching for the truck, so he kept watch while driving his regular route for Maines Paper & Food Service between Portland and Worcester, Mass.

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On Wednesday, Scipione stopped at a rest area in Chelmsford and saw a Tacoma with insignia, and immediately called police. That call quickly resulted in the arrest of Hughes’ mother, Julianne McCrery, who was found sleeping in the vehicle.

McCrery has since been charged with second-degree murder in New Hampshire.

Scipione’s call to police ended a notable chain of events that began when an initial witness recognized the significance of seeing the Tacoma, and was able to recall vehicle details and provide accurate information to police. Then, police were able to quickly get information out to the public, and hundreds of people responded with tips, including Scipione’s critical tip in seeing a suspicious vehicle at the Route 495 rest stop.

No one has been able to grasp what circumstances led to Hughes’ death, including the little boy’s maternal grandmother, LuRue McCrery, who lives in Nebraska. Perhaps no one ever will.

But, what the case demonstrates with clarity is the very real value of citizen involvement in coordination with aggressive police investigations. Here, we saw an active partnership of willing witnesses and superb police work to identify a little boy and assist in the capture of his mother.

? ? ?

Disney Enterprises — that magical enterprise that brings us tales of mice and mermaids, of pirates, princesses and Pooh — deserves a hearty, hale jeer.

Really.

A day after the Navy’s Seal Team Six raided Osama bin Laden’s compound, killing the al-Qaida leader, Disney Enterprises filed multiple applications with the federal government to patent the name “Seal Team 6.”

Really.

The possible uses for the name suggested by the Disney dynasty? On toys, games, sporting equipment, electronic games, Christmas stockings and snow globes.

Really.

It’s not the first time such a patent has been filed for ownership of “Seal Team 6.” In 2002 and 2004, NovaLogic — maker of electronic military combat simulation games Delta Force and Comanche — applied for that patent and was refused each time.

Disney should be refused this time.

Seal Team Six is a specially trained unit of this nation’s armed forces. The title of this unit and the very real work that it does in the name of freedom cannot be diminished to a marketing phrase to sell holiday decorations.

The idea that Disney could trademark and own the rights to the phrase “Seal Team 6” is, well, just plain goofy.

jmeyer@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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