Post crime coverage comes up short

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Friday, February 18, 2011; 6:28 PM

I reread in disbelief the Feb. 11 Metro article about a Silver Spring man arrested in connection with a fatal stabbing.

The Post's reporter and editors decided that the most compelling aspect of the news was that a former homicide detective, now working a regular beat, had caught a murder suspect within two minutes of hearing about the crime. The story riffed on the irony that in his career as a detective, it often took months to solve cases. The headline focused on the suspect calling 911 from a pay phone.

The story played down what was most important: A 33-year-old Silver Spring mother was slashed to death in front of her two children. But the slaying of Elizabeth Velez Vasquez wasn't noted until the eighth paragraph, which was immediately followed by a quote from the former detective about the break police got.

The real news was the horrible murder of a spouse in front of her children in a local neighborhood. Did The Post really think it best to focus on the slight irony of the detective turned beat cop? Do you really think that was what her family, neighbors and community cared about most?

Scott Schang, Takoma Park

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I was infuriated by a Feb. 13 Metro headline: "Soured romance leads to 3 killings; Accused Manassas man is a Salvadoran national in United States illegally."

Since when is a criminal's immigration status a headline event? From now on will the immigration status of all murder suspects be in the headlines? Why wasn't there information in the headline or the story about how this individual, without legal status, acquired the gun he allegedly used to kill his victims?

His immigration status has nothing to do with his crime. Thousands of Virginians without legal status refrain from these choices.

I look forward to future headlines such as "Burglar, legally born in U.S., steals from her neighbors."

Kate McCauley, Arlington


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