MY FATHER’S BROTHER WAS mugged one night in Syracuse, N.Y. He was severely beaten over the head and died as a result of brain damage, so I am no stranger to the effects of violence. For the past 15 years, I have worked with families of victims of homicide who seek healing by letting go of hate and rejecting violent solutions to violent crime.
I am not easily shocked, but the ad for the T-shirts by SeaTek Industries on Page 31 in your June 2 issue is one of the most irresponsible, opportunistic displays I’ve ever seen. A tree with a noose swinging from it and the words “Hang Em High! For the Oklahoma City Bombing” appears designed to escalate passions of the same variety that brought about the tragedy in Oklahoma City.
A few weeks after the bombing, two Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) members spoke to a group gathered in St. Luke’s Church, just blocks from the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. One was a man whose wife was murdered during a break-in at their place of business in Alabama, and the other was a woman whose elderly parents were killed by a man who robbed their rural Oklahoma home. Both spoke of reconciliation, healing, and the consequences of passing on violence. There was not a person at that gathering untouched by the tragedy in Oklahoma City, and they had had enough of killing.
The SeaTek ad carried the footnote that a portion of the proceeds from the shirts would be donated to the Victims and Families Relief Fund. I am certain the words of two MVFR members will benefit those victims far more than the pittance raised by fueling the flames of hatred. I hope SeaTek loses its shirt on this one.
Executive Director, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, Atlantic, Va.