Letters To The Editor - 'Top 10' news story ballot insensitive

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This is a comment on your "Walla Walla U-B top 10 stories ballot."

It was quite distressing to read through the list of items we're asked to vote on. Right there among "State budget cuts eliminate local horse races" and "Three moose romp their way through the city," we find "Two children, Olivia and Eva Wilson, are killed in house fire," "Julio Cesar Martinez is killed in a shooting" and "Audrey Brewer is stabbed to death."

And we are asked to vote whether the tragic deaths of four young people should make it into the "Top 10 Stories!"

To me it's disturbing, to say the least, to be publicly reminded, in the venue of a frivolous news story contest, of the appalling events that are an ongoing nightmare for the families and friends of these four dear young people.

I believe it was not your intent to offend, but in this instance it seems you lost sight of simple human empathy and respect for the feelings of others.

My wife, Dixie, and I live next door to the Brewers. They are a wonderful, caring family and a pleasure to have as neighbors. We can only guess at the pain with which they live every day. And to see this most personal and heartbreaking calamity used as part of a contest of top news stories is to me highly insensitive.

How are her family, friends and neighbors supposed to respond to this? "Hey, Audrey's death might make it into the 'top 10!' Cool." Bizarre and revolting, don't you think?

From just a news perspective it may be appropriate for the U-B to make reference to those personal tragedies. The events needed to be reported and they are news. However, for a small community paper to lay out for public voting the traumatic events that many of your readership are still haunted by is very tacky.

I value my daily U-B and will continue to subscribe, but I hope in the future you will rethink what is included in the list of possible top 10 items. May I suggest a contest for the 10 most inspiring news stories of the year? With all that's bad in the world, we could all use something to cheer about.

Casey Cramer
Walla Walla

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