The Blog Squad

Monday, January 30, 2006

Holmberg is out of line in criticism of Behl's mom

I’ve been trying to dissect a comment Mark Holmberg made in his column yesterday. It was about the murder of Joseph Edward Roberts, a 60-year-old North Richmond man, whose slaying during an apparent home invasion in January went largely unnoticed amid the more high-profile homicides in the truly horrendous, murderous month. As he always does so deftly, Holmberg told us about this man most of us never so much as encountered -- a disabled handyman who had held every job you can name, a very social guy who “craved company”, a man who battled alcoholism and won in the final years of his life. And then Holmberg came to his point:

“It’s all too easy to dismiss this human driftwood -- and a death like Roberts’ -- isn’t it?"

Unfortunately, yes. And then Holmberg took it too far:

"It just doesn’t weigh the same as the other slayings that week, not to mention last year’s death of college student Taylor Behl. Which is why few reporters contacted Roberts’ family, while Behl’s mother continues to bask in the media spotlight like a contestant on some kind of strange “American Idol” for grieving family members.”

Whoa. Basking in the spotlight? "American Idol" for grieving family members? I can’t figure out whether this is merely insensitive or inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory or perhaps, the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. If Holmberg’s point is that all deaths should “weigh” the same -- well, how is it Janet Pelasara’s fault that no one paid attention to Mr. Roberts’ death? Why did Holmberg feel the need to drag her into this? And to more than imply that Mrs. Pelasara is in any way enjoying this is just stomach-turning. God help you in Holmberg’s world if you happen to be a telegenic, articulate woman whose beautiful daughter goes missing and winds up murdered, because apparently you have no credibility as victim of crime. What would any of us do in that situation? You bet your life that if I were in Mrs. Pelasara’s boat, I would sell my soul to the devil -- or worse, cable news outlets -- to get my child’s face and information out there and I wouldn’t feel the least bit guilty about it. There are legitimate criticisms to be made of news outlets who spend way too much time on these “missing white girl” stories but not an ounce of that criticism should go to families who use every resource at their disposal to find their children or, after the fact, to speak out on the issues about which they have become reluctant experts.

“No, we might not feel such a small death, which means something has died in each one of us.”

Holmberg’s weird logic seems to say shame on us for not noticing some victims of violent crime but shame on us too for noticing others.


At Tue Jan 31, 08:37:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't say it any better. He should apologize to Ms. Behl's mother.

At Thu Feb 02, 01:39:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holmberg said what a lot of us are thinking. Taylor's mother's bitterness and quest for revenge seems to be driving her. It's not an attractive quality. She has every right to feel the way she feels, but she might want to take a cue from what MH said and tone down the deep revulsion she displays in public.

At Fri Feb 03, 10:14:00 AM EST, Blogger Janet Giampietro said...

tone down her deep revulsion? for the killer of her daughter? even if that was holmberg's point, why didn't he say that? i see no defense for what in my opinion amounts to a kind of slander -- if not in the legal sense. to say she is basking in the spotlight says that she is enjoying this attention. period. that is sick.

At Fri Feb 03, 11:03:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TV is a "cool" medium. Some of those who see her on TV see a woman who is anything but "cool." If good TV personalities -- in the very broadest sense -- are blue, she is fire-engine red. My point is that her perfectly natural emotions come across as harsh and jarring on TV. If you read about her in the newspaper, you don't get that feeling at all. I am making no judgment on her. Rather, I am judging how she comes across on TV.

At Fri Feb 03, 11:16:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My point is that her perfectly natural emotions come across as harsh and jarring on TV."

Good. Sometimes we need to be jarred by reality. I would be suspicious that she was drugged if she came across as "cool" or "toned down" on TV. Anyone in her position has earned the right to be harsh. Those who are tired of seeing her probably don't want to handle the harsh reality that accompanies murder, loss, and grief.

As for Janet's article, I agree. How in the world do we equate a mother's anger with "basking" in anything??

At Fri Feb 03, 02:02:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It might be shameful that the perception exists. But it's mighty hard to argue that it does NOT exist. The poster who said she is too "hot" for TV is right. That's a function of TV and her personality, not a function of her grief.

At Tue Nov 01, 03:28:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Janet Pelasara said...

Today started out as just another day. The day's goal reorganize, "go through" a closet and see what needs to stay and what needs to go.

I was making good progress going through the many papers I had put away 11 years ago.
A sad smile here, an eye roll there and then BAM ! PHOTOS !
When I picked them up, looked at them, registering what these photos where, I threw them as if they were on fire. I screamed as though I had been prodded with a red hot poker ! Neighbors probably thought I was losing my mind (little do they know).

These photos were taken by the investigators where they found my daughter's body,
Taylor Behl. I cried, I shook and keep asking myself how did I survive her death.
Once I calmed down, and thought about this question that I had never asked myself...I cannot answer it.

I was in shock for years. I wasn't ok. I was on autopilot. I am better now.

How did I end up here ? That's another story. I remember Holmberg's stupid comment about me. Did I deserve an apology, do I even want and apology ? No, I do not.
Yes, I have come a long long way even with the meltdown today caused by the photos. I wish I could post the photos here and then you idiots could give more of your stupid opinions.

Did Holmberg get his 5 minutes of fame ? Don't know and don't care.
For those of you, including Holmberg that have written your unfavorable opinions of me and how you think I should or should not have been on TV - until you have been in my shoes...
go to hell.

Most sincerely,

Janet Pelasara


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