With the front-page photo and headline of tragedy, the very undoing of supporting the Herczog family's plea for compassion began. Reports of the unnerving details of the fatality serve no one—the grieving family, the deceased father and disturbed son, nor humanity reading it. The words "brutal" and "gruesome" were aptly used to describe action graphically which is not appropriate for anyone (stable or psychologically vulnerable) to read. The basic story should have been conveyed in a nonsensationalistic manner. I speak from experience. Fifty years ago (when I was 12 years old), a TV news program showed the aftermath of a slain family's home and described the ordeal. That tortured me for one and a half years, and challenged my own stability. Consider the effect it could have on people who are psychologically challenged (such as the young man in the article). Please recognize your social impact in future reporting in the best interest for the well-being of humanity.
Thank you for publishing the heartbreaking story of the Herczog family ("A Picture of Tragedy," April 10). It's not clear which is more horrific: the nature of the crime itself, which is terrifying; the fact that this boy's anguished parents didn't call law enforcement because they very understandably feared for his life; or the continuing shameful status of mental healthcare in this country. My mother was schizophrenic, and although she wasn't violent, I experienced time and again the consequences of societal fears and ignorance, and lack of proper care for the mentally ill. Here's to better education of the public and to the police in dealing with such folks, to better treatment and funding, and to more compassion everywhere.
My hopes and prayers surround this entire family and all who are seeking the truth and its relevance to Houston and his care beyond this sad moment. I, too, wake up everyday to a tragic nightmare that began over seven years ago with psychosis and the killing of two of our five children by their medication-induced psychotic father and my husband, David Crespi. I believe that we all need to seek the truth to facilitate meaningful action and healing beyond the horror. See CrespiFamilyHope.org for details. I completely support understanding and mercy for Houston.
Editor's Note: For more on Houston Herczog's story, see the cover feature in the new issue of 'Mother Jones' magazine.
President Obama has pledged to bring the perpetrator of the bombing in Boston to justice. That doesn't comfort me. If my wife had been killed or my child maimed, what I'd want is for my wife to be alive and my child whole. And there's no way that such incidents can be prevented in the future.
President Bush said, "They hate us for our freedoms." That's absurd. They hate us because we freely kick the crap out of them. We invade, drop bombs, kick in their doors, shoot them down, destroy their countries and lock up their resources. This is not rocket science; it's elementary logic. Having declared a war on terror, we sow the seeds of hatred by sending troops all over the world—war everywhere all the time, an unwinnable madness. Now we have "covert operations" spreading across Africa. What arrogance! What stupidity! If anyone did to us what we do to others, we'd hate and fight them, too.
This is the territory of empire. There is no way to "defeat" people who are willing to die for a cause, whose religion is under attack, who can't be identified no matter how many undercover CIA or FBI agents are assigned to the case. We sacrifice our freedom, too, becoming a surveillance state. What a terrible and sad outcome.
Safety will never come out of the barrel of a gun. To live by the sword is to die by the sword, or live in endless fear. The war comes home. How many young Americans must be torn apart so corporations can profit? So bully boys with big toys get to play out their military fantasies? How many terrorist attacks must be borne?
I say to my fellow citizens, turn off FOX News and hate radio. Our children deserve better. If we make war, we get war. To have peace we must make peace.
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