Speaking for All of Austin

RECEIVED Tue., April 24, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I know I speak for all of Austin and the Chronicle when I express how deeply sorrowful I am about the senseless tragedy that occurred last week at Virginia Tech. In addition to feelings of sympathy for all the students there and all their families, particularly of those who died, we have justified anger toward the weak and lost soul who perpetrated this act.
    Peter Jennings appeared on Late Night With David Letterman Monday, April 23. He was obviously asked on the show to speak about the shooting and his decision to broadcast the pictures and words sent to NBC by the shooter between the episodes of violence.
    Jennings apparently has no judgment about what is appropriate. His appearance was immediately preceded by American Idol ex-contestant Sanjaya, who performed the Top 10 list. Jennings joked that it used to be forbidden to say “sanjaya” on the air, that they had to substitute terms like “private parts.” I didn’t think the teenager was kicked off Idol soon enough, but I think Jennings comment was at least as racist as Imus’ “nappy-headed ho's.”
    Be that as it may, I am appalled that the decision was made to publicize the photos and rantings of the psychotic murderer. The entire incident was to garner attention as he left this world, causing as much damage and pain as possible. The decision to show those pictures was made for one thing, ratings. And the consequences of that poor decision could very well inspire other sick people who feel they have been ignored too long to consider seeking the same attention.
Kenney C. Kennedy
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