O. J. Case Offers Much Food For Thought

Although many points in the editorial ``O. J., `This Lost Person,' '' June 22, are well taken, I find the main theme troubling. I too deplore the ``mindless celebrity mentality'' and the ``perverse jeering quality'' in some commentary. However, the editorial validates the following line of reasoning, which is an obstacle to dealing with domestic violence: Because Mr. Simpson was well-liked and respected by teammates, friends, and colleagues for real reasons, this must be the ``real'' person. How could such a charming, nice, successful person be doing terrible things to those closest to him? This thinking makes it difficult for both society and individuals to deal with the ugly problems underneath.

Evidently the judge in the 1989 case, in which Simpson pleaded no contest to beating his wife so badly that she was hospitalized, couldn't believe such a ``nice'' person was much of a threat, and allowed Simpson to have counselling by phone with the therapist of his choice. According to professionals, perpetrators should never be allowed to design their treatment.

The editorial cites Simpson's plea to protect his children as evidence of the ``real O. J.'' This is one statement in a self-serving note that overall is a classic example of a batterer's mentality. He minimizes the problem and ducks responsibility for his actions. Where was this concern for his children when he beat up and allegedly murdered their mother?

Those of us who don't live with violence must be sensitive to beliefs that make it more difficult for those who do. Focusing on the good in a personality is helpful for motivation toward good behavior, but unhelpful when it adds to incredulity about a serious problem. Joan Sanders, Flossmoor, Ill.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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