Reactionary responses

Following the tragic incident involving Stephen Anderson and Utah prison inmate Curtis Allgier, various readers of The Deseret Morning News have weighed in with several over-the-top, reactionary responses to both the News‘ coverage of the story and the steps that should be taken to prevent an event like this from happening again. Here’s one mother’s plea:

Quit putting Curtis Allgier’s picture in the paper! My 11-year-old daughter came to me this morning and said she had nightmares that a man with tattoos all over his face was going to get her. He is one scary dude. Please stop. You’re scaring the kids and me!

And another letter from someone who equates news coverage with public promotion:

Why do readers of the Deseret Morning News have to see the sickening face of that tattooed Allgier killer again and again? The paper only encourages criminals by giving them publicity.

This fellow must barely be able to sleep at night:

In light of the Stephen Anderson tragedy, it is just about time that we stop turning out "monster criminals." How dumb can we be to allow criminals time and access to body-building exercise facilities? They have nothing better to do with their time than plan their next crime and get bigger and stronger for when they do it.

I think they should have the same free time activity as most American youths — video games (nonviolent, of course) and junk food. I would much prefer we have potbellied, couch-potato criminals than gigantic monsters!

His letter elicited the only reasonable response, from today’s (07/03) paper:

[The previous letter writer] argues that prisons should deny incarcerated criminals access to exercise facilities so they don’t become bigger, stronger criminals when they get out (Readers’ Forum, July 1). I concur, but I don’t think he goes far enough. Strategic games like chess, Risk or Monopoly — as well as all books — should be banned to deter prisoners from developing the mental skills necessary to be a criminal mastermind.

Inmates should be prevented from forming friendships with their peers to prevent them from forming crime syndicates. Furthermore, the use of microwaves and cell phones should be prohibited, lest the radiation emitted by these devices inadvertently mutate ordinary criminals into unstoppable supervillains.

I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t notice the obvious tongue-in-cheek tone. I mean really, people—let’s bind up our wounds and move on.

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