“Great guy” kills 8 people

This takes the cake in the “nice guy kills family” genre. He wasn’t just a nice guy, he was a great one (don’t let the headline fool you). I wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, if it doesn’t get printed, I”ll post it here later.

A ‘regular guy,’ then something changed : Man charged in 8 Va. slayings was apparently troubled by family dispute over home 

Man is charged with murder in 8 Appomattox shootings

What is it about domestic violence reporting (or other mass killings) that makes writers find out all the positive characteristics of the perp? Some have said it is because most reporters are white males – when they write about crimes committed by other white males they have more sympathy and group affinity. Certainly, I have not seen the same sympathy written about crimes when they are committed by people of color or when the crimes involves shootings by strangers. When a guy takes his spouse’s or children’s lives, their is a patriarchal-based philosophy that those people belonged to the man – possessions – so that, in some sense, he had a right to take their lives. It is quite a different reaction from when a stranger kills a person or a family. Think about it – and notice the difference in writing when reading about these different types of crimes.

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