Somewhere in Glendale, CA, there is a 56-year-old resident who must constantly be reliving what he experienced March 17th on the Chinese-North Korean border, and wondering whether it could have all, somehow, gone down differently. I’m talking of course about Mitchell Koss, the producer-cameraman who has worked with Laura Ling before and was in tow with she, Euna Lee and a Chinese guide on that fateful night.
Though Koss has remained publicly silent, he most certainly has briefed the State Department in the days following his fortunate escape to the Chinese side. He may even have been asked by the State Department not to say anything. But there are some possible clues as to what he might have said privately.
When the Ling–Lee families went public, @lisaling repeatly apologized on behalf of Ling and Lee if, by some accident and with no prior intent, they crossed into North Korea. A similar sentiment informed a letter sent to the country by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This could reflect a course of action that was deemed most acceptable to the North Koreans, or it could indicate Koss revealed that the @current crew did indeed accidently cross the dividing line. But I want to emphasize, the latter is just a guess on my part.
On an entirely different note, I don’t envy Koss one bit for the mix of relief and guilt he is sure to be feeling. Think about it: three L.A. residents head out on a dangerous assignment, but the only one to make it back is a man who was unable to save two, younger women.
This is in no way a knock of Koss’ behavior; the March 17th incident probably happened so fast and frighteningly that his options were limited. It’s just an acknowledgment of one of this horrible incident’s deep rooted resonances.