Dear Local Newsmedia,

Please back the hell off on the Joseph Duncan trial coverage. What’s the point? He’s admitted guilt. The proceedings only decided whether he dies in prison or dies by injection. I am generally against the death penalty but I’m happy to make an exception for Duncan. If you systematically plan to kill a whole family, and take two young siblings into a national forest to abuse both and kill one, I’d say your life should be forfeit. He’s the definition of evil.

But do we really need to know the details? Does anyone need to know about the last moments of these poor people’s lives? Do we need to know how he scouted for victims? Is it an important milestone in free speech to get frame-by-frame descriptions of the video he shot during the crime? Lest we forget, the young girl who did survive this tragedy does not get any less stigmatized each time her name appears above the fold.

The newspaper reference is deliberate. The Spokesman-Review has been especially rabid for the details of this case, fighting for public access to just about everything Duncan. I’m not sure why. During the past year they have run an excellent series about child welfare called ìOur Kids Our Business.î But scaring the heck out of parents by consistently putting Duncan on the front page isn’t helping any kid’s welfare.

“Which scenario should provoke more panic: the possibility that your child may become one of the approximately 100 children who are kidnapped by strangers each year, or one of the country’s 58 million overweight adults?”

That quote comes from an excellent editorial in the L.A. Times last year by L.J. Williamson. She also points out that child abduction rates have been declining since the 1990s, but the fear of these crimes continues to climb.

With Duncan sentencing coverage in such high profile I fear we are giving the killer what he wants “attention” and creating more victims. Only these victims won’t be killed, instead they will cow into never letting their kids outdoors to have fun unsupervised. They may think of national forests as frightening lawless zones. They may be erecting unconscious barriers to their children connecting with nature.

I invite you to join me in my boycott of Duncan coverage. I don’t want to live in fear. Don’t let this guy keep us out of the woods.

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