June 26, 2002

Beware the Letter to the

Beware the Letter to the Editor

I'll be the first to admit that I probably shouldn't have sent it. I should have sat on it and let it stew and settle. But, no, I had to write it then and there and send it without hesitation.

The "it" I'm referring to is a letter to the editor I wrote to Rochester's bastion of local news, the Post-Bulletin. I was a little perturbed that the P-B had dedicated front page, weekend edition space to an article about a cat that had been doused in some sort of flammable liquid, set ablaze, and left to die near a dumpster outside a local mall. Was this news? Perhaps, but definitely not front page, weekend edition news. This was something that should have been buried in the E section, just under a story about unclogging toilets with chopsticks, or some other such drivel.

So, with a head full of half-formed thoughts and a whole lot of irritation, I drafted a letter to the editor that went something (okay, exactly) like this.

Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me my vision is terrible. Tell me I didn't see a story about a cat as front-page news in the weekend edition.

Tell me the P-B newsroom actually has substantive news to cover beyond an article about a blazing cat. Tell me their writers are not sent out to do follow-up articles about blazing cats. Tell me that editorial meetings at the P-B don't consist of cat talk.

And if you can't tell me any of this, tell me why the P-B wasted so much newspaper space on such a stupid story.

It was a cat; It was not news.

Ryan Rhodes


My mother was quick to call me when she saw this in the paper, and she said, "people reading this would never guess you write for a living." Uh, oh.

I'm currently being lambasted by several area residents who are outraged that I'm such a moral demon. I'm being held up as a pet hater of the highest order. Granted, I am having a great time reading their responses in the P-B's letter to the editor section, but I'm thinking I'd like to see the letters subside. I like stirring the pot from time to time, but I'm starting to feel as if I jumped into the pot and am busy marinating in it.

Just for the record, I am not a pet hater. I actually like animals. As a child, my family kept two dogs and I like both of them immensely. I was simply trying to state my displeasure at seeing a story about a cat on the front page. Instead, I've prompted such angry responses as:

'Just a cat' attitude is saddening

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Contrary to the disturbing letter to the editor by Ryan Rhodes on June 20, the story about the cat that died after being sadistically set afire was unquestionably deserving of prominent news coverage by the Post-Bulletin.

People like Mr. Rhodes, who opines that "it was (just) a cat," sadden me with their attitude that somehow only human life has value.

When will more of us learn that, as the most advanced creature on the planet, we humans are responsible for the care and well-being of all God's creation?

Bruce R. Larson


I think Bruce is telling me that I'm the most advanced creature on the planet, which was really nice of Bruce to say.

Animals need compassion

Monday, June 24, 2002

This letter is in response to Ryan Rhodes, who couldn't believe the Post-Bulletin would waste so much time and space on the story about the "blazing cat."

Apparently, Mr. Rhodes doesn't realize that this deplorable act affects us all.

It is frightening to know there are people out there who think it is a great sport to torture animals. Do you suppose that animals don't feel pain like humans do?

It takes a very sick mind to think there is anything even remotely funny about making an animal suffer. What if the people who burned the cat derived so much pleasure from it that they try torturing a child next time?

It's a shame that people haven't been taught that it is not OK to be cruel to animals, even if it is "just a cat." Try showing some compassion for the defenseless animals who are at the mercy of human beings.

Janice Sullivan


D'oh! Why did I say "blazing cat?" Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.

There were many other such letters bashing my poorly thought out letter, but these give you a general idea of where I'm at.

Posted by Ryan at June 26, 2002 10:45 AM
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