The “I shot her” headline in last week’s Northern edition moved me to write this letter. I, frankly, found it offensive. Why, of all the ways you could have captured the content of this story, did you choose the most shocking words possible? While I know that sensational headlines help to generate readership, in this circumstance it lacked sensitivity, good taste and common sense, particularly because there are many people in our community who know the Leighton family.
We are mourning Shirley’s loss. We are trying to make sense of an unimaginable event. The Leighton family is in our thoughts and prayers. To summarize what happened with the throw-away line “I shot her” diminishes the depth of this tragedy. Perhaps a more appropriate headline would have been “Terrible tragedy strikes Falmouth family.”
When dealing with outcomes where serious mental illness plays a role, less sensational and more respectful commentary is needed, otherwise we cannot dispel the stigma that surrounds this spectrum of brain disorders, and people are left to think it is OK to summarize such a tragedy in the way you did. I am sorry the community was greeted with your misconceived headline.