Headline was insensitive

Published 6:30 am Sunday, May 20, 2012

In response to the “breaking news” ticker and the news article to which it pertained, “Bar owner in fatal crash was drunk,” that I just read in the May 16 online edition of the Tribune, I don’t know if the words “insensitivity” and “lack of respect” quite describe my initial thoughts but “annoyed to the point of writing to the editor” accurately describes my feeling.

I am not condoning drinking and driving, so I don’t intend to start a debate on the morality of the people who have done so. I am not arguing that the victims of such decisions don’t have the justifiable right to speak out against drunken driving.

I am talking about respect. We are bombarded, almost daily, about the lack of respect given by and to our children. Bullying, it’s a huge issue. Where do these children learn it’s OK to give no forethought to the effect our words will have on other people or to disregard the emotions of the people around us?

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I don’t know any of the young men in the car that was involved in the accident with Mike Skov, and, although I did attend school in Alden with Mike Skov, I can’t say that I knew him really well either. But I know that Mike has family, and they do deserve the same amount of sensitivity and respect that the other crash victims and their families deserve. Mike lost his life and his family lost their loved one. Whether he was drunk and chose to drive doesn’t change that fact.

Where in this article is the respect for Mike Skov’s family? Because there was alcohol involved, does this mean that respect should be disregarded? I can only imagine how Mike’s family and friends feel seeing such a article about their loved one.

Both the news ticker and the title of the article imply that driving under the influence of alcohol was the sole cause of this accident even though the facts stated within the article say something entirely different. In fact, State Patrol Sgt. Christina Krueger stated, “Skov ultimately died from a medical condition not related to the crash, but she could not expand on whether the intoxication was related to the medical incident. His blood-alcohol level has not been released.”

The ticker and title were merely attention grabbers that most definitely distorted people’s perceptions of what happened and thereby caused even more heartache. It would have been more appropriate for this article to be written up and printed when officials did in fact have ALL the pertinent information available to “expand on” and the writer of the article had more time to reflect on a more appropriate title? May I suggest “under the influence”? Just a play on words, maybe, but it would have been kinder and more respectful to Mike’s family and by doing so it would have made our world a bit less harsh.


Lisa Adams

Albert Lea