Responses to the Samson Berhe Case

And some of Roderick's old friends resurface.

Re: "Never Minded" by Laura Onstot (April 30)I can't believe this stupid article. A decent person, a father, gets shot in the head, a daughter gets deprived of a chance of having a father, and this article is devoted to all the excuses why this asshole murdered and his mental history. Who cares what his history is? People have had tougher lives to live and have emerged victorious. When this country stops blaming the government, the neighbors, and the drugs, and takes a hard look at the basic problem with America—breakdown of the family, which is the only structure and model that can be and is responsible for individual growth—only then will you have a moment of peace.—LisaIt would be nice if some of this author's attention was actually paid to the real victim here—Michael Robb—who will never have the chance to go to Japan, the "technology capital of the world," to try out his inventions, or see his daughter, or teach a child tennis, or laugh or love. It is a very sad day in our world when the life of a wonderful human being is needlessly snuffed out by someone he tried to help, and all we can do is talk about the characteristics of the murderer and what a polite, soft-spoken young man he is and what his dreams are WHEN he is released from the mental hospital.My parents will never get to see their son again nor will we, his siblings, or his lovely, wonderful daughter. When are we going to wake up and make people responsible for their actions? If you kill someone, there should be some consequences—does anyone out there agree with me? This is exactly the type of article that encourages people to kill others in the name of mental illness with the hope that the world will feel sorry for them. He doesn't sound crazy to me, he sounds like a calculating and intelligent individual who is playing the system and all of us. If this is what "coming a long way" is, as stated, I feel sorry for anyone who is working in that system out there.—CordeliaI think the point of the article is being missed by the readers above. It has been well-established by legal precedent that someone who is clinically insane cannot be held accountable in the same way for their actions due to their skewed perception of reality. That said, it is society's responsibility to identify cases of extreme mental illness and provide treatment, separating them from others if they pose a danger, as in this case.The justice system relies so heavily on deterrence, which is not effective in cases of mental illness. Without a developed sense of morality or understanding of consequences, as is the case in some mental illnesses, the threat of jail does not prevent the crime. Hence the need for identification of mental illness and treatment to help deter violent crimes. In the case featured in this article, the identification was certainly there; however, effective treatment was not provided and little deterrence was in place to check this boy's actions.—KeithI understand (as much as any person not involved can) the desire to punish the person who commits violence. I can't say that if it had been my brother or father or son that had been killed, I would react in any other way than to demand punishment. But that is precisely why we have a justice system—so that definition of crime and the extent of punishment are NOT up to those with the most emotional involvement.I do not think that any person here wants to live in a justice system where mental illness is not a legitimate defense. We know mental illness exists. Most of us either have ourselves or have had relatives and/or friends who have been mentally ill. Most of us have been fortunate that those persons were not violent. But we know it causes people to act abnormally. To simply throw those people in prison and call it "justice" is not what I want and hope it's not what others want.I agree that this article spends too much time on the perpetrator and too little acknowledging the victim. Such lack of balance is painful, especially when you believe it's the victim who deserves to be known, not the killer. But outside the specifics of the case, in principle that article presents a real problem—many of those who need mental health assistance cannot get it. The readers here say the system failed. Maybe so. And maybe the article highlights another way that it did.—MichaelRe: "Clean Campaigning" by Aimee Curl (April 30)Brown Bear Car Wash owner Vic Odermat may truly care about the environment, or he may be more concerned with lining his pockets. If all the City Council members ran their campaigns with a publicly funded election program, this concern would be removed. As a citizen, Odermat could work for the candidates that represent his green interests but not buy their support.—Susanne RecordonRe: "Wasted Youth" by John Roderick (April 30)Hey John, as your former co-conspirator in Bugbear, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the situation at the time. Seattle had indeed jumped the shark. But aren't you "glossing over" the chemical issues surrounding that time a little? There was more than one reason why Bugbear never played a show (thank GAWD)—and it wasn't just because we sucked harder than a $2 Aurora whore...wouldn't you agree, Mr. "Medicine Cabinet Pirate"?Peace out—and call me once in a while, you cranky-overrated-stoopid-ugly-ass-beard-farmin' Alaskan bitch. I need a show. Bad.—Col. T. Porter HarpJohn, although I've always counted you in the top five friends who've influenced me in a multitude of ways, I can't help feeling hurt that I am a part of everything that went musically wrong in your life. This being said, no hard feelings and I still appreciate and miss you.—Tim FeketeThis was such a great read, I feel like I'm on Klonopins and needles! Yours, behind the Penny Perk—Chris EsteyRe: "Tasty Jalopy" by Jesse Froehling (April 30)Skillet is so overrated. Come on—overpriced, overly seasoned food served out of an Airstream does not make for a great lunch. Taco trucks are still the ruler of this universe!—OverratedRe: "Ask an Uptight Seattleite" (March 26)I agree! I nearly always turn the station to avoid Steve Scher's voice. It's painful to listen to him interview someone with his inane, stammering questions. I sometimes wonder if the person being interviewed is as frustrated as I am.—DianeWrite to us at or comment online!

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