This is an update about the Amber Alert concerning John B*ugh3r. However, as I started to write about him and his arrest in Colorado, a rather nasty voice entered my mind. It was a voice that was all too ready to rant against the news media and their portrayal of him. I know that I have not spoken to the man in a good ten years, but mutual friends and family members still hold him in high regard.
So instead of my words, I'd like to share some excerpts from two different letters to the editor of a local newspaper. One is written by John's sister and the other by a close family friend.
"My mother and I are writing to say that we are very, very upset with all of the lies we have seen on the news regarding my brother, John.
It's unfortunate that the media have chosen to portray him as a mentally disturbed young man. I cannot think of one allegation that is in fact true regarding his character...."
"I found myself asking questions and wondering if anyone else is asking the same things. Why are we given so little information about the larger story, the context that prompted John to put himself and his children at risk?
Why would a gentle, caring father, a former Marine,and community college teacher go to such extremes? The man is portrayed in the media as the mentally unstable abductor, but to many inside and outside his community he is the musician, the artist, the brilliant comedian, the accepting and compassionate companion, the patient teacher, the stubbornly passionate idealist, and now, the shattered soul."
I am not saying what John did was right by taking his children. He made a very bad choice and I truly wish someone wiser could have counseled him beforehand. He was hasty and foolish. There were other choices before him and now John is in jail. He will have to wait a lot longer before he sees his children again.
But once again I have learned a valuable lesson. Do not trust the media. Do not believe everything you read. Just because statements are made in black and white print do not mean they are factual or true. The media sensationalizes stories to attract readership. Basic facts are no longer used because our society has become Jerry Springerized.
John made the wrong choice. The Amber Alert was needed and it helped bring the children home. A character assassination was unnecessary.