Letter: Questions about reporting on Will Graham

(Re: “Before Punchbowl episode, Graham had legal issues,” June 8, The Aspen Times)

I have a few questions to which I hope you will respond. Based upon the number of people with whom I’ve spoken in the past 24 hours, I know that countless others in this community would also like to be privy to your answers.

1. The question that first boggles my mind about the article is its purpose.

I am struggling to find anything about it that is helpful to anyone. Please tell us why you chose to write this article.

2. What made you feel the article was front-page news? It did catch lots of eyes, but only made them weep.

3. We also can’t imagine why you chose the picture you printed. Is this really how you thought the friends and family of Will would want to remember him?

4. Did you even once think of the impact this would have on so many, but especially his family? It is hard to think that anyone in this small town would purposely be so cruel to a young man who was “raised by a village” like Aspen.

5. Surely you know of Will’s military background; he was a proud member of our army’s 82nd Airborne Division serving in Afghanistan. Without guys like him fighting for us, you wouldn’t have your freedom of speech. It’s a pity the way in which you abuse that right.

6. There are so many things about Will that you omitted — things that bring smiles to those of us mourning. This seemed odd to me until I realized that you obviously didn’t even know the young man whose memory you so thoughtlessly tried to tarnish with this disgraceful piece of “journalism” that you were proud enough to post front page. The question is this: Does this make you feel good about your work, and does this help you to feel like a real part of this community? Dream on.

7. Finally, someone told me something I have a hard time believing. They said that you are a father! I mean, surely a father would be sensitive to other parents’ feelings during such a horrendous time. And as a father, wouldn’t you also be concerned about the missing young man’s sibling and his reaction to this? Come on, you’re really not a dad, are you?

Like so many in this town, I loved Will. You, Rick, cannot tarnish our memories of him. Rather than the unfortunate image you so rudely imposed upon us, I choose to remember him with that “Willy G Smile” (no one has one quite like it), arms outreached for hugs, gazing up to the sky!

I’m hoping your readers followed the Facebook comments posted in response to your article. Thanks to so many who posted about Will; hopefully others will do the same and rally for Will!

Submitted with condolences for Will’s family and friends, and awaiting your response.

Karen Angus