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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2003

Reporters should remember family when writing about accident victim

I am highly disappointed in the newspaper article published about Tom Harbick. He was a very loving father, husband, and friend. However, the article about him made it sound like he could have been a drunk driver.

His wife said, "It made him sound like a bad man."

Well, he didn't drink and was the nicest man I knew. Tom was safe and always wore a seat belt. The reason I know this information is because his daughter, Kim, is my best friend. They are family to me.

To me it seems like reporters and journalists tend to bring the worst out of people and make them sound bad, when that's not always the situation. I'm writing this letter so that in the future you will take into consideration that people care about how their loved ones are portrayed. In cases like this one, when a loving husband and father dies in an accident, their loved ones don't want to read their husband/father was being reckless or driving erratically. Nor do they want the public to think he was something that he was not.

There may have been something wrong with Tom to make him drive that way, but no one will ever know what exactly happened. The Tom I knew was safe, caring and a loving family man. I just want people to know Tom the way I did. Maybe the next time someone dies, reporters can write and keep in mind that someone's hurting wife and children may be the ones reading about it in tomorrow's issue.

Thank you for your time.

Shayna Marie Pritchard

Nikiski

Shooting in Sterling calls for us to exercise compassion, good will

Our hearts go out to the families of Casey Porter and Trooper Arthur Osborne. A recent letter to the editor described Porter as a troubled man hoping to turn his life around.

Our family happens to have interacted with Trooper Osborne once, and we know him for having done good work. One of our 7-year-old daughter's two favorite stuffed animals is a walrus she named "Osborne" after the trooper. He melted her anxieties one dark night with the gift and his friendly tone after pulling us over -- lights flashing -- for driving with one headlight.

This is a time to suspend judgment and otherwise exercise compassion and good will.

Best wishes,

Dan and Heidi Chay

Kenai

Man shot by troopers not innocent victim; troopers doing their job

Casey Porter's lengthy criminal record (on file at the court house) speaks for his life. Casey was a criminal pure and simple. He was violating conditions of release on the day of his death, placing innocent lives at risk by driving impaired and with a suspended license.

These are not the actions of a man trying to turn his life around.

Casey had more than enough experience with the law to know that he had to follow the officer's orders but not any inclination to obey them. The focus to date has been on the injustice done to Casey by the troopers. We should be focusing on the fact that our troopers were not only doing their jobs, but by doing so placed themselves at substantial risk. Most of us are grateful for these brave men and women who choose to protect our community.

Casey is not an innocent victim here. Casey took his own life into his hands and made the decision to forfeit it.

NJ Wilkinson

Soldotna

Troopers forced to make life-death decisions while doing their duty

It is the most unfortunate circumstance we have as humans to experience the untimely death of a loved one. Second to that grief is perhaps being the person who felt it necessary in the line of duty, to take action, at the time and under the

circumstance to take that life. That person nor the bereaved family will ever outlive the trauma and pain.

I reference the above to the recent shooting death of Mr. Casey Porter by Alaska State Trooper Arthur "Jesse" Osborn.

I know nothing of the circumstances surrounding the tragic event and have been following only what I read or watch on the news. I am concerned by letters of opinion I read in this newspaper that are already accusing Trooper Osborn with serious and libelous charges. I am compelled by these letters to offer a potentially different side to the issue.

Maybe, just maybe, what has been released by the state troopers to date is true. Two troopers are investigating a suspicious circumstance. The subject is noncompliant with repeated requests to cooperate. The subject escalates the

situation by racing his car toward another trooper with a trooper running alongside insisting he stop. This trooper uses pepper spray to stop the escalation. It fails. The subject then becomes a potentially dangerous assailant on another trooper not to mention the trooper running alongside the car repeatedly telling him to stop. But wait a minute! During all this Trooper Osborn is supposed to ignore all his training, ignore all his concern for providing safety to his fellow trooper (and incidentally a citizen of this state). He is supposed to stop. Stop and wonder if this subject is pulling on his legs to operate the brake and pushing the accelerator with his cane and driving a five speed with a clutch as one letter suggests because after all Mr. Porter didn't even have a driver's license. Or is it a gun?

If this is true it sure presents itself as a picture of hell happening on earth, for all concerned there at the time.

One opinion writer has said she hopes Trooper Osborn feels terrible and sympathetic. I suggest it may be possible that Trooper Osborn and his partner maybe, just maybe, are experiencing a hell that is unknown to her when one is placed in that position under duty. Time will tell and courts may ultimately decide.

In the meantime, I'm glad good troopers are out there. Mr. Osborn and his partner are being held accountable and things are being questioned. It may just be that's why they signed on as troopers in the first place.

If not I'm confident they will be signed off and held accountable. My heart goes out to Mr. Porter's family and the troopers.

Leslie Davies

Soldotna

Will troopers admit if they were wrong; what's the whole story?

When I read the report on the trooper shooting Sunday I was sickened, angry and kind of scared.

The biggest thing that upset me was the fact that Casey Porter is in a wheelchair and cannot just jump out of the car. In fact, he is paralyzed from the waist down.

I think the Alaska State Troopers are pushing their power beyond helping the citizens who pay them.

It sickens me to think in the middle of winter a paralyzed man who can't stand out by the road if his car quits for whatever the reason deserves to be pepper sprayed and when the car starts moving they shoot to kill!

How about shooting the tire out? Do the state troopers need more training? Are they ever wrong? Will they admit it? How about the whole story!

Kelly Spoonts

Kenai

All letters to the editor, including those sent by e-mail, should include the letter writer's name, phone number and address.



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