Letters to the Editor

Letters on publication of Va. Tech shooter's photo

I am disappointed that you chose to run the photos of Cho Seung-Hui in such a crass and sensationalistic manner. The explanation from Sandra Duerr that you felt the information conveyed in the photos was important for your readers only deepened my loss of faith in your paper. I know very well that the photos, along with their shock-provoking headline, were placed on the front page, one above the fold, only to sell more papers, not to inform. I am only thankful that I chose a profession where I do not feel I have to peddle the sorrows of others to make a buck. You can be sure it will be quite a while before I pick up another copy of The Tribune.

Robert Schwennicke, Teacher

Yes, Sandra Duerr, I am offended by the disturbing photo of a cold-blooded killer pointing guns in my face, similar to the last visual image 32 people had before they violently died. I am especially offended for all the innocent children in our community who saw it. When MSNBC released the information, they shielded the photos and writings behind a warning notice, allowing us to choose whether or not to view them. You did not give us the choice to protect ourselves or our children from that horrific image. No doubt your decision, allegedly made after "careful consideration," was driven by economics. In my opinion, "You're fired."

Helen J. Bishop-Anderson, San Luis Obispo

It was extremely bad taste to put those pictures, filled with hate, on the front page or anywhere. Did you just want everyone to throw up or what? That kind of gut-wrenching hype is not appropriate for a city paper. The message came across as "let's let all the mentally perverted sickos know we will print the pictures they want everyone to see, after they act out their dramas".

As if we need to be horrified more.

Your newspaper made me sick. Lu Taylor, Halcyon

With a great sense of dread I opened up this morning's paper only to find The Tribune pandering to the heightened media frenzy of the devastating shootings at V-Tech by using the one still photo of this psychotic gunman in a pose that conveys Rambo-like coolness. Yes, coolness. That is how this photo is bound to be misinterpreted by the next troubled, psychotic youth before he decides to shoot up his school. This gunman in his ramblings made reference to the Columbine shooters and in fact took on their persona, with backwards ball-cap, plenty of ammunition, chained escape routes. Where did he learn this? Oh yes, the constant media frenzy that in the end dramatizes horrific events, of course set to half-time moving images with a cool soundtrack. This is an important tragic story. I think another photo would have done a better and more responsible journalistic job illustrating this. Name Withheld, Arroyo Grande

Please add my name to the list of outraged readers who strongly object to the placement of the photos of Cho Seung-Hui on the front page, above and below the fold. The photo will be seen as a glorification of his acts by some and may easily inspire copy-cat crimes. The victims and their accomplishments would have been more appropriate. Pam Racouillat

Though not usually prone to take time out of my busy schedule as a community college teacher to write a letter to the editor, I felt compelled to respond to your lame attempt (“Front-page photos meant to convey killer’s anger”) at running the front-page photos of Cho Seung-Hui. Come on, Ms. Duerr, being a person of education, wouldn’t it seem fairly obvious to you that the majority of us – without the aid of these disturbing pictures – are able to deduct just how sick and angry this individual was in light of dispatching himself to murder his first two victims at Virginia Tech – only to return on campus and make American history by carrying out the systematic homicide of 30 more innocent souls (31 if you count the killer’s suicide)?

As I see it from my perspective, all you and the other media have accomplished to do by showing Seung-Hui’s offered images to the mass public is to play into his ultimate plan of gaining a degree of notoriety and fame via the media. Shame on your newspaper and the rest of the media that did exactly what the killer hoped you would do; an irresponsible and self-serving action that I feel has ultimately desecrated the memory of all those who died at the hands of this madman. Michael Messina, Atascadero

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