When you heard about that southern Illinois couple winning a $218 million lottery prize — and keeping it a secret for weeks — did you think about what you would have done?
Would you have tried to keep it a secret?
I thought, yes, sure, Betty and I wouldn’t tell a soul, not if I wanted to keep writing the column and keep our lives just about the same. With that cash, we wouldn’t have to worry about bills or retirement or sending our boys off to college, but we’d have to worry about our lives changing forever.
Perhaps you would have hoped to keep it a secret too, and perhaps it doesn’t matter when you win such a sum.
But Americans have a right to privacy. We expect that unless we commit a crime or file a lawsuit or run for office or seek the spotlight, we should be able to live our lives away from prying eyes.
And it is sad that Merle and Patricia Butler, of tiny Red Bud in southern Illinois, have lost that right. They had it taken away from them.
They kept things secret for weeks. They won that $218 million, their share of the big Mega Millions jackpot. But to claim their share, they had to go public. At least that’s what the stories said, that Illinois requires lottery winners to go public to claim the prize.
Now it turns out that the stories about Illinois lottery winners having to go public aren’t entirely true, and I’ll explain more about that later.
Read the whole story: Chicago Tribune