Thank you for printing the article about the priest Patrick O'Donnell ["A Real Charmer," Oct. 16]. Our family lost a son at 29 to suicide a few months after he revealed his sexual abuse at the age of 12 by the parish priest. As we looked into the after-effects of clergy sexual abuse, we discovered the painful reality that many victims commit suicide or make suicide attempts. In the story, the possibility of two suicides due to this priest's abuse further confirms that sexual abuse is potentially deadly.
We want to connect with families that have lost a son or daughter due to suicide after sexual abuse by a clergy member. We feel sure there are many families feeling alone in their tragedy. Our group may be reached by calling toll-free 1-888-234-0680, ext. 7183.
Exposing abusive behavior is laudable as it is the only way to achieve justice and/or accountability.
Conway Springs, KS
IT'S NOT PAT
Tim Appelo's review of Bowling for Columbine led me to expect the worst from a Michael Moore who has admittedly shown a tendency to oversimplify ["Gun Nut," Oct. 16]. So I was surprised to find it a sober, thoughtful film that generally avoids pat answers to the question of what's behind America's gun culture.
Appelo's characterization of Moore's stance as "all U.S. military actions are morally identical with, and causally connected to, the Columbine killings" is horseshit. Moore takes pains to remind us that this is hardly the only country to have engaged in violence on a massive scale. But over the past 50 years, we've accumulated a unique record in Southeast Asia, Central America, Iraq, etc. Is it Appelo's stance that these things can happen with no consequence for the kind of society we have at home?
Appelo says that "the film flops as art, and belly flops as intellectual analysis." Perhaps, but isn't it silly to go to Moore for either? This film isn't a sociological treatise, it's a wake-up call to a slumbering nation. Moore's films nudge us toward a sense of community. Maybe it's asking too much for Americans in large numbers to give a shit what happens in Baghdad and Basra. But damned if you don't walk out of Bowling for Columbine caring about Littleton and Flint. And that's a start.
BULLY BOY REVIEWER
In reading Tim Appelo's review of Bowling for Columbine, I was angered at his well- spoken crudeness ["Gun Nut," Oct. 16]. Referring to Michael Moore's ego as bigger than his girth! That was too low and high-school bullying for any reviewer. And saying Charlton Heston's explanation for this country's gun problem (ethnic strife!) is plausible is steeped in racism.
Maxxwell T. Denton
PULLING NO PUNCHES
I am troubled by Brian Miller's review of Punch-Drunk Love ["Unlovable," Oct. 16]. Not necessarily because he panned the film, but because of his intense criticism of Jon Brion's score. Throughout the film, Mr. Anderson takes great pains to show the beauty and complexity of the everyday and banal (the exterior of a mattress store, a shelf of canned goods), and Brion's score reflects that. Voices, metal clattering, "drips-on-a-drainpipe"? These are sounds we hear every day and dismiss, the audio equivalent of the exterior of a mattress store. The score is an extension of the picture and means something in relation to the plot. That Mr. Miller cannot see the concentrated beauty and perfection of Brion's work is infuriating. I would like to corner him in a dark alley and punch him, because a critic who cannot accept or understand beauty and perfection in its truest, purest form is of no use to readers or this world.
Megan Beth Koester
P.S. I only figuratively want to beat the shit out of you.
NO JUDICIAL ANIMUS
Your article regarding the Supreme Court election contest between Jim Johnson and Mary Fairhurst quotes me extensively but does not accurately reflect my views ["Sandpaper and Silk," Oct. 16]. I have endorsed Jim Johnson because his record demonstrates exceptional experience, competence, and dedication to individual rights. That reflects no personal animus toward his opponent. I stated to the editor that I did not wish any critical comment about Ms. Fairhurst associated with my name, and I would look forward to serving with her on the court if she were selected. I don't know how Ms. Fairhurst would decide cases based on her record; however, I have confidence in Jim Johnson based on his. These are both honorable people.
Richard B. Sanders
State Supreme Court Justice
ASSAULT ON HARBORVIEW
The article "Crime Magnet" [Oct. 2] was an unfair assault on Harborview.
It is unfortunate that the paper chose to rely on claims from a few disgruntled employees regarding security at the medical center. When all components of the medical center's security upgrades have been completed, Harborview will have invested an additional $2 million in security enhancements over the past few years. Harborview's goal is to provide a safe environment while providing appropriate access to our patients. We have used and will continue to use the public-safety model that is employed by the overwhelming majority of trauma centers throughout the country.
I would like to correct several errors in the article, as well as provide a more accurate perspective on some of the issues identified:
The medical center's crime statistics for last year identified 1,029 incidents, not over 1,500 as the source reported. The number of incidents reported needs further clarification to be meaningful. For example, the article identified four rapes at Harborview. Two of the incidents did not occur at the medical center or on its campus. The third case was an alleged sexual assault made by a head-injured patient that was found to be untrue. The fourth incident was an act committed by a psychotic patient. A full investigation was conducted, and corrective action was taken.
HMC did not "pass" on an option to have officers trained by the state police academy. The academy's role is to train commissioned law enforcement, and the academy chose not to respond to our request because our officers are not commissioned.
Numbers were never downsized in any reports. All that was asked was that incidents be counted once, not multiple times.
The article says that all 50 public safety officers want to be trained as police. This is not true. While a few officers want to carry guns, the majority of our officers support the public-safety model we have historically employed.
The 1995 suicide at Harborview resulted in an extensive review of our public safety and security, including developing a phased plan for implementation. Administration has been diligent in following the plan and implementing the appropriate consultant recommendations.
Overall, the article leaves a false impression about the medical center and its administration. It states that "administrators continued to downplay the dangers and have not taken meaningful steps to ensure a higher level of safety." We would have provided documentation to counter that had the reporter asked. Continuous efforts have been made throughout the medical center to enhance safety. The hospital regards the provision of a safe environment for employees, faculty, patients, and visitors as amongst its highest priorities.
David E. Jaffe
Harborview Medical Center
Rick Anderson responds: I did ask about, and report, the major security modifications made by Harborview. The question remains: How good is a $2 million system that can't stop someone from strolling in with a gun and 50 rounds of ammunition?
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