The Journal's story on the death of Richie Estrada last year was well researched and fairly reported ("'System Failure,'" Oct. 15). It pointed to the need for better mental health services, especially in the Hoopa and Willow Creek area.
While I feel sad for the grieving family, and I applaud their post-mortem efforts to get better mental health services in the valley, I wish they had expressed some concern for the wounded (and possibly disabled) CHP officer their son tried to hack to pieces. I didn't see that in the story. I did see they put up a sign saying "Justice 4 Richie," and I read that the father said, "My son must have feared for his life," when he attacked the officer.
Of course, the writer, Thadeus Greenson, may have left out some quotes showing that the family expressed feelings of concern or support for the officer. But having followed his work for years, I know he is incredibly thorough. I think if the family had made that point, he would have put it in the story.
This isn't a trivial matter. There are dangerous people out there, and all of them used to be someone's cherished son or beloved daughter. When they turn violent, police officers are often the only ones who will protect the rest of us from them. They deserve our gratitude at all times; and when they're wounded in the line of duty, they deserve sympathy and understanding.
Jim Hight, Eureka