Friday, July 10, 2009

A Call for Class

I bring to you today a tragedy I have just recently learned about. A young man named Willard Bryant Payne was recently found dead in St. Louis Forest Park. Please read a touching tribute to this man's life written by Bill McClellan in the St. Louis Post Dispatch online. I never knew or met Mr. Payne, a SLUH alum, but my brother was acquainted with him, and others in my brother's circle knew him well. They described him as "a good guy." They were shocked to learn of his death, and as they emailed each other about it, they were even more shocked to read the way his death was treated by the Riverfront Times.

I ask you, to my own dismay, to please click on the following link and read the way Chad Garrison -- a professional journalist -- wrote about Mr. Payne's death. The sarcasm and complete lack of respect, class or even basic professional prudence disgust me as much as it outraged my brother's friends who knew Bryant well.

I would ask each of you reading this, then, to make the smallest effort with a few clicks of a mouse and a few strokes on the keyboard to not only protect the honor of Mr. Payne's life but to uphold the honor we all share as being part of a class. This is not just about where you went to high school. This is about anyone who has ever belonged to a group of friends, family, or classmates whose combined honor and virtue becomes greater than that of any separate individual; so that, in turn, such honor and mutual respect is shared by all of her members.

Please take a moment to forward this post on not just to other SLUH classmates and other friends of Mr. Payne, but to other people in St. Louis who demand basic respect for their own from, at the very least, the professional media funded by businesses we own, work for and support as customers.

Then, please click here to write a brief note to the editors of the RFT requesting that Chad Garrison make a full public apology for his outrageous behavior as well as a private apology to the Payne family.

Finally, take a moment to say a prayer for Willard Bryant Payne and his family. May he rest in peace.


Kevin said...

Thanks Ry - nice post. I've forwarded to my other SLUH buds.

Roller said...

Sad story, and classless journalism. Not excusing it, but that's just about what you'd expect from the RFT, I think.

Mark said...

Really sad. Thanks for posting the well-written article. for more folks to see.