Letter: A bad example

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2001

Help me understand: In Monday's paper you report that a man fired a gun inside a church, threatening for six hours to kill himself, and that the 12 police officers on the scene were concerned enough for his wife's safety that they cut a hole in the church wall from which to extricate her.

In addition you state that he had had restraining orders brought against him which he had violated. Later in the article you report that this man was subsequently charged with "first-degree burglary, first-degree stalking, three counts of third-degree assault, five counts of terroristic threatening and one count of second-degree misconduct involving weapons."

OK, I get all that. Now here comes the confusing part: Your Tuesday headline reads, "Friends call church gunman a good man in need of help."

This is immediately followed by two acquaintances' testimonials to his good character. Yes, this man does appear to need help. However, lauding him on the front page of the paper is not likely to convince him of this. This sort of reporting trivializes domestic violence, celebrates dramatic and aggressive solutions to problems, and gives like-minded fellows the license to follow suit. How do we explain to our sons that this sort of behavior is now what passes for the definition of "a good man?"

Sylvia Kidd


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