This letter is regarding the story headlined ''Woman found dead in street." The woman had a name and a family.
It amazed me how quickly the media and a police official jumped to accuse a murder victim of her heinous crimes. They did not pay tribute to the contributions she made during her life, nor did they focus on her children or family; rather, they unjustifiably told of her past like uncaring tales told by strangers: cold, bitter and unkind.
Yes, Valerie Warren had an ongoing battle with drugs and a less than perfect criminal history. Most of her family can attest to that, but what gives a man or a woman or a news channel or a paper the right to magnify those misfortunes? Just because you have public access to them doesn't mean you should race to be the first one to share them, or maybe that's just me. Why must that be the headline and the nearly unmistakable fact that she was shot in the head and left to die on the road at the hands of a murderer go unnoticed?
I would love to insinuate that we have "evolved" into a desensitized culture when it comes to people's opinions and brutal media attacks, but unfortunately another family member of mine was murdered in Warren Township in 1956 and the story remained the same. At that time, just like now, no respect was paid to the victim, or the remaining loved ones. An insinuation that the woman "had it coming" was highlighted and the fact that she was brutally murdered by a stranger later caught and shot out of a tree was almost an afterthought.
What that tells me, if anything, is that this is not a "new" generation of hate that we are dealing with, but rather an ongoing problem that has not even begun to be corrected in nearly 60 years. I believe that people who believe we are moving forward as a society, community - even a nation - must be completely asleep. Yes, of course, there are great people in our society; I happen to be one (smile) and I could mention countless others, but when I open a blog and see hateful messages spewed at my deceased relative and comments made insinuating that "we" are to blame for her death, I really don't know how to respond.
The shock alone is bewildering, and I am left wondering if this county even has a chance. When are we going to stop attacking one another and start looking out for one another? It has been 60 years, and I have not seen one change when it comes to media and individuals reporting the negative about the positive. If this gets printed it will blow my mind, as I fear a heavy censorship to publish honest, wholesome talk is almost obsolete.
I guess I just wanted to take a moment and let our local media as well as a select few in our community know that it is not nice to say mean things about dead people; or is that the point, they are dead, so you don't care? It's always always easier to say mean, hateful and negative things about others, it's like we don't even have to try. It sure would be nice to see someone paying respect and love to a deceased person, even one who lost her battle to drugs. When all the dust settles, we are all just imperfect human beings. Can't we just leave it at that?
Rachel (Warren) Burnette