We contemplated writing a follow-up news story on Thomas Bearson.
We could’ve written about how it’s been two years since Tom’s family and friends last saw him alive. Two years of an active investigation that’s offered the media and public little information. Two years of feelings of anger, sadness and helplessness.
But there’s nothing notably new in that, and local media dutifully covered those bases this week.
Instead, we’ve opted to remember and reflect, for our and North Dakota State’s sake.
Do you, upperclassmen, faculty and staff, remember two years ago how surreal campus felt as this tragedy unfolded? The initial story we published about Tom’s disappearance garnered so much attention it temporarily shut down our website. The world, it seemed, needed to find Tom; for three long, agonizing days, we couldn’t.
Underclassmen and new employees wouldn’t know about the vigil hosted at the Babbling Brook the night after Tom’s body was found in Moorhead.
There weren’t enough candles for everyone. The mosquitoes were relentless that night. Many behind the Brooks’ amphitheater couldn’t hear what speakers were sharing.
It didn’t matter. We were together, remembering a kid many of us never had met or would meet.
“Once a Bison, always a Bison,” we repeated. “Once a Bison, always a Bison.”
Tom was a Bison for less than a month before somebody, or somebodies, murdered him.
Two years later, we’re without motive or persons of interest. Moorhead, Fargo and NDSU police have tirelessly worked together, along with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI, to bring Tom’s killer, or killers, to justice.
We need justice for Tom and his family.
Somehow, Tom’s family has found silver linings in this situation. The Tom Bearson Foundation has raised thousands of dollars for scholarships, sports clubs and safety programs.
These silver linings are cast in shadows, though, because the case remains unsolved. Authorities and Tom’s family posit that people are holding out on giving information.
Greg Bearson, Tom’s dad, told The Forum, “If (the people of interest) have a conscience, they realize that by remaining silent they are living a lie.
“Guilt is a very powerful emotion, and someday it will all come crashing down on them.”
In two more years, Tom’s class will have mostly graduated, stepping NDSU further away from the tragedy that shook our campus. If you have something to say, now is the time to speak up.