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Coverage is justified

Dear Editor:

Both my parents grew up on Indian reservations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Alcoholism was such a family blight that while being brought up in St. Paul, I thought the difference between Indians and white people was that white people didn’t drink.

I beg to differ with Joe Farrell’s objection to the Aspen Daily News’ coverage of the vodka-fueled Klanderud family tragedy. The coverage was of highly relevant public interest. It illustrates that even the most functional families are affected by alcohol abuse. Beyond the personal tragedy, it reported, as opposed to having invented, a crime that had a victim and a perp. It reported the involvement of law enforcement, emergency medical services and a miscarriage possibly related to the assault. It reported the disposition of the perp to detox and stated some of the options that the criminal justice system will have in determining the penalties Mr. Klanderud will face.

As for the type of alcohol, I refer to a NEW YORKER essay about vodka available on its web page. Non-subscribers can read a 400-word abstract; subscribers can read the entire essay: “‘The Russian God’ – Vodka celebrates its five-hundredth anniversary,” by Victor Erofeyev in the issue of Dec. 16, 2002.

Most drug treatment begins with the assumption that the abuser is powerless against the drug. This essay shows how it has blighted an entire nation with incalculable social costs. The Klanderud tragedy is just one piece of an ongoing disaster right here in the U.S. and deserved some coverage.

David Bentley

Aspen


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