Letter: Graphic information was unnecessary, hurtful

Editor,

Regarding the Jan. 16, 2019 article, “Man kills his ex-girlfriend, calls to tell mother, then shoots self” was disturbing, especially given the grief and trauma experienced by the family and those surrounding them.

As superintendent of the South Whidbey School District, I rarely respond to news articles. In this case I believe that the unnecessarily graphic descriptions included in the article created another level of anxiety for those affected by this tragic event.

While you provided a disclaimer at the beginning of the article, I wonder if you realize the depth and breadth of the impact this incident has had on our school community.

Besides the obvious impact to immediate survivors, there are teachers who taught Ms. Blouin and her children. There are young cousins and significant others in South Whidbey and Coupeville.

There are people who know the grandparents and worked with them. They are all dealing with terrible loss. Was it necessary to subject them to a detailed description of the graphic violence inflicted on their daughter and the mother of their grandchildren?

To ask them to relive the actual phone call and the words said to a mother who was told of her daughter’s murder?

I recognize and strongly believe in the freedom of the press and the importance of providing information to the public. It is something we must protect.

However, some details are not necessary to create a fuller picture of the story, especially in a case where children are impacted.

Information should be used with sensitivity and discretion.

Jo Moccia

Superintendant, South Whidbey School District

Editor’s note: The mothers of the victim visited our Freeland office Wednesday after the article appeared. They wanted to pass along to the reporter, “We were worried about what she’d write but she did her research and it was a very good story.” They offered their appreciation to the reporter for her well-written and sensitive article.

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