“Great guy” kills 8

The Washington Post printed my Letter to the Editor today about the “great guy” that killed 8 people, including 2 children:

More sympathy in a domestic violence case?

Can you imagine the story “Life after death: The strength of a mother” [Style, Jan. 20], if the writer, Neely Tucker, had described all the positive traits of Anthony Q. Kelly, who killed the mother’s 9-year-old daughter in Montgomery County?

Yet that is exactly what happens in reporting on domestic violence, where the perpetrators are known to their victims.

Just as Tucker was telling his heart-wrenching two-part saga of a stranger killing a child, staff writers Fredrick Kunkle and Josh White told the story of Christopher Bryan Speight [“A ‘regular guy,’ then something changed,” front page, Jan. 21] after eight family members and friends, including two children, were killed in rural Virginia. Their article contained more than a dozen positive descriptions of Speight. How odd, such kind words for the alleged perpetrator and so little attention to the victims.

When the media offer more sympathy for slayings committed by strangers, society places a lesser value on domestic-violence homicides. Yet killing a spouse or family member is equally as heinous as killing a stranger.

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