Letter to the Editor – O’Connor

On a recent visit to New Paltz, I picked up the Thursday, April 20 issue of The Oracle

To refer to Aaron Hernandez as someone who “harbor(ed) such evil” is missing an extremely significant point about what got him incarcerated to begin with. He made choices, but growing up in a working class neighborhood and grieving the loss of a parent before seventh grade makes already vulnerable youth even more vulnerable. As author Bryan Stevenson says, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

I have to disagree that Hernandez “reduced himself to nothing.” His actions were brutal and had tragic consequences, but he is still a human being who, like all of us, is capable of constant transformation. To paint with such a broad stroke and implicitly generalize all incarcerated individuals as worthless is irresponsible and pretty socially tone-deaf. 

To clearly have a subjective opinion on a man who was reduced to “nothing” and then halfheartedly mention suicide resources — why even cover an elite athlete’s suicide and sprinkle it with feigned compassion if the entire article is about dehumanizing him?

Cait O’Connor

SUNY New Paltz ‘16