The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 25, 2013

Enlighten the community

---- — I will contribute to, and fundraise on behalf of, public libraries as long as I can write a check or haul a box of used books, and many of the folks mentioned in "On the Scene: 'Evening of Mystery' raises $18G for library" (March 19, 2013) I know as good friends and good people. But I read the account of the Public Library for Union County's recent murder-themed fundraiser with mounting sadness and disgust.

Murder is in fact a heinous crime that leaves unfathomable sorrow in its wake, not an entertaining plot point on which to hang a fundraiser for the local library. Think I'm too sensitive? Try reading the column as recounting a rape-themed, rather than a murder-themed, fundraiser, and gauge your own (considerable, I hope) disgust. Does your reaction reflect the fact that rape is a horrendous crime deserving of such gravity, and murder is not? Hardly. We have murder-themed events like these because the vast majority of those who plan and attend such events are well-insulated from the profound sorrow associated with the 600-some murders that occur every year in Pennsylvania alone.

That insulation is abetted by, among other things, membership in a privileged socio-economic class and the daily presentation of murder, fictional and not, as entertainment. Only with the gross insensitivity to human suffering produced by such insulation can murder become entertainment, and the coff! in of a murder victim a merry prop.

I invite those who planned and participated in the Public Library's murder-themed fundraiser to reflect on how the event might have been experienced by someone with a murdered loved one, and I implore the Public Library for Union County to plan events that promote, rather than retard, its mission to educate and enlighten our community.

Gary Hardcastle, Lewisburg