At Tacoma Stories, I limit my coverage of homicides to those that occur in the city of Tacoma. If I started to cover murders outside of Tacoma, I’m not sure where that stops. Do I cover all of Pierce County? Do I cover just the significant homicides? As soon as I ask myself that question, it upsets me because they’re all significant. Every homicide victim has family and friends who now have a hole in their lives.
So when seven-year-old Charlie Powell and his brother five-year-old Braden Powell were brutally murdered by their father in Graham, I was a bit torn about weather I should write about it. The murders did not take place in Tacoma. And if I wrote about it, I would feel compelled to write about the next murder that happened in an area surrounding Tacoma. Because otherwise, I’m saying that this homicide is somehow more important than the next and that’s just not something I believe.
In the days that followed these homicides, many questions were asked. How could this have been prevented? Did the judge do the right thing allowing the father to have supervised visitation? Did the social worker do everything she could? Did the 911 operator handle the call correctly? All of these are good questions if they lead to positive changes. They are not good questions if you’re looking for someone to blame because the person to blame is the murderer.
Today in Tacoma, there is a funeral for Charlie and Braden. Hundreds if not thousands are expected to arrive. The vast majority of them will be people who have never met Charlie and Braden or any of their friends or family. Some will be reporters ‘live tweeting’ from the ceremony. KIRO TV has promised live coverage and aerial footage from their helicopter.
At one point a ‘church’ known for its hate claimed that it was going to picket the funeral. I won’t name the organization because what they want is publicity. Others, including the local ‘Occupy’ movement promised a counter-protest. Charlie and Bradon’s family asked that they all not show up and rightly so. None of this is going to make saying goodbye to these children any easier.
I will not be attending the ceremony for the same reason I haven’t attended most funerals; I did not know them. My presence there would not be any sort of comfort to the family and since I technically write about homicides, I could be seen as ‘press’ which would be even worse.
– Jack Cameron