the live wii
the Hartford Courant
Sherry Cobb of Naugatuck, Conn., still feels the mix of
grief, shock and fury that engulfed her eight years ago when
her brother Ricky was accused of the murder of Julia Ashe.
So when Cobb heard that Matthew Beck had killed four
of his supervisors at the state's lottery headquarters before
killing himself, and of the public apology Beck's father,
Donald, offered, it summoned painful memories.
She remembers the fear of having her name recognized
and the misplaced anger she endured from others at the tech-
nical school she was attending at the time.
"They would leave newspapers out with the headlines fac-
ing up," said Cobb. "When I walked by, there 'would he lit-
the snickers. It was totally uncalled for"
Cobb eventually dropped out of the technical program -
"I didn't need that" and moved to California. "I wanted
to go someplace where no one knew my name," she said.
Often forgotten and almost unmentionable during the
aftermath of a murder is the ordeal faced by the killer's fam-
ily. Cobb and others know the
trauma the Becks are just begin-
ning to learn to live with. t a be
Experts say that a murder is
often as cataclysmic in the life of
a perpetrator's family as in the life M
of a victim's family. identityE
'these families are mired ina .
confusing mixture of anger and
love, of grief over the death of the Famr
victim and over the loss of a nor-
mal future for their loved one and
of guilt that they didn't somehow prevent the crime.
It can be hard for a community to acknowledge the needs
or feelings of the offender or that person's family because
it's not compatible with the understandable rage it feels
about the crime, said Ann ldalist-Estrin, a Pennsylvania
expert on family relationships and incarceration.
"It's a double-whammy" for the family of the criminal,
Edalist-Estrin said. "They have all these feelings ... but they
rarely get any support."
Often everything changes for these families. Even such
simple, mundane activities as grocery shopping cause great
"From what we see in our work, you never go back to liv-
ing your normal life again," said Susan Quinlan, who works
with offenders and their families as executive director of
Families in Crisis Inc. in Hartford, Conn. "From that point
forward, that becomes a critical part of your identity. You're
always known as the family of or the father of ..."
For Margaret, it was all too debilitating; the sadness and
grief resulting from her son's involvement in the murder of
two people. She lives in a small Connecticut town and want-
ed neither her real name nor her residence used in this story.
"I went from being an outgoing person to becoming very
withdrawn and afraid to go out," said Margaret. "It was ago-
raphobia ... I never thought it could happen."
Often families of offenders find that they are shunned by
NEW YORK (AP) School board booming, car radios
meetings and park cleanups, high school teaching jobs at som
sports and neighborhood prowlers. he rushes to Cape C
This is the hometown news that shuttle began creepi
viewers seek as they turn their eyes By afternoon, Wate
from the world at large to the world colleague replaces
at home, and this back-fence jour- blastoff.
nalism is causing a quiet revolution On a daily basis,
in television news. Smythe sets the sch
Cable systems are rapidly adding her station is consiu
channels all across the country that report competitors, the
local news all day long. Even as these broadcast affiliates.
upstart stations are proving themselves eager to take advan
as businesses and news organizations, nesses.
they are changing the way neighbors The battle abo
learn about their communities. noise is the type
The all-news channels promise view- important to Bre
ers news when they want it, eschewing dents that mig
the tabloid approach that is the longtime ing broadcast sta
taple of local TV newscasts. It means their viewers mig
crime and sex are often replaced by away from their n
reports on tax rates and traffic. While many resid
One of the newest local news channels et launches live, cc
is Central Florida News 13 in Orlando, may not preempt "O
which opened its newsroom only last fall. tainment shows fIor
On one recent day, reporter David But time is no prob
Waters is so busy that he barely had time has hours to fill, n
to check his watch. dinner and before be
Waters first reports on a proposed "Immediacy of i
noise ordinance in nearby Brevard thing that people h
(ounty, where residents are irked by she says. "Nobody
Thursday, April 2, 1998 -The Michigan Daily - 9A
friends and neighbors, who treat them as if they have a com-
municable disease, according to the Rev. Gordon Bates, for-
mer executive director of the Connecticut Prison
Association, subsequently renamed Community Partners in
Bates said the families of offenders may feel so shamed
and guilty that they withdraw from the world.
"They can become very isolated and depressed," Bates
Margaret, whose voice cracked at the memory of the
ordeal more than a decade ago, said she finally was forced
to overcome her fear of leaving home four years after the
murder. 1 fer husband had gone away on a business trip and
she needed groceries.
After six tries, she finally got herself to the store. She
went inside and caught the eye of some shoppers - --who
turned away from her as soon as they recognized her.
Despite this incident, Margaret says more people were
sympathetic than not in the community and this slowly
helped her recover. "I expected to
be run out of town on a rail, but it
lilies in Crisis, Inc.
was totally the opposite. People
were kind and benevolent and
Cobb said that although she
withdrew from her tecihnical pro-
gram, neither she nor her family
withdrew from life, perhaps
because of all the support they,
E-Stamp Corp. President Sunir Kapoor takes part in a Washington, D.C. news conference Tuesday to unveil the U.S.
Postal Service's e-stamp Internet software.
U.S. Post Office unveils new
It was very, very surprising,"
said Cobb, who since has felt comfortable enough to move
back to Connecticut. "People that you don't even think rec-
ognize you or know you" wrote to the family. "I heard from
teachers I had way back when, people who knew my par-
ents and had worked with them. It was incredible."
Ricky Cobb's crime had been highly publicized. Ile had
raped Julia Ashe and then bound her hands and feet with
packing tape before throwing her off a dam into icy water
A Beck family member said the family has received
expressions of sympathy and support from neighbors and
the community. After his public apology and the funerals of
his son and his son's victims, Donald Beck declined to talk
to a reporter.
In his apology, Beck said that while his son's "murderous
act was monstrous ... he was not a monster."'
in some cases, families continue close relationships with
their offending member, while others are unable to.
Of her own brother, Cobb said, "I think more than any
other family member, I'm very upset with my brother. I
haven't had any contact with him."
Quinlan said the community's reaction to the family of
an offender can depend oti the circumstances.
If people "believe that the family somehow contributed
to the crime in some way by either protecting or hiding" the
perpetrator, the community can react angrily, she said.
WASH INGTON (A P) No more
licking and sticking, just clicking, for
some folks, Postmaster General
Marvin Runyon proclaimed Tuesday,
unveiling the first electronic stamps.
The e-stamps were approved for
testing and, if all goes well, business-
es and individuals will be able to print
their own postage using personal
computers and the Internet.
"The (postage) we unveil today
represents the most significant new
form of postage payment in three-
quarters of a century." Runyon said.
I le then wielded a computer mouse
to generate the first computer-gener-
ated stamp at ceremonies at the
National Postal Museum.
The move toward electronic
postage comes 78 years after approval
of postage meters and 151 years after
the United States issued its first
"This is the future," said Runyon.
"Postage directly from a personal com-
The system approved for testing
was developed by 1E-Stamp Corp. of
Palo Alto, Calif., but other companies
are working on similar products,
postal officials said.
E-Stamp calls its system
SmartStamp, while others are promot-
ing the term "mouse-mail," after the
computer pointing device users will
click to generate the postage.
For its part, the post office's uses
"information-based indicia" to refer
to the system. "Indicia" is the postal
term for an indication on an envelope
that postage has been paid.
The new stamp prints out on a reg-
ular computer printer as it puts the
address on an envelope.
The system is likely to appeal to
small businesses and some individuals,
though E-Stamp President Sunir
Kapoor said he hoped it would be.used
by everyone, perhaps with his software
being included with standard programs.
Most people use personal comput-
ers and the Internet to generate con-
tent that ultimately goes into the mail
stream, he said. Those with a comput-
er, printer and Internet connection
already have what they need to print
their own postage.
While the systems of other compa-
nies may vary, E-Stamp's provides a
small piece of hardware that fits into
a computer port and serves as an elec-
tronic vault for stored postage. The
customer has an account with the
company and can download postage
into this vault via the Internet when-
ever needed, then can print it on
envelopes as necessary.
Customers will pay a transaction fee
to download postage, but the amount
of the fee has not been determined.
Pam Gilbert, Postal Service vice
president for retail, said security was
the main concern in developing an
electronic postage system, since the
ability to print stamps is equivalent to
The e-stamp will include the
postage amount, name and ZIP code
of the local post office, date the
postage was printed and rate catego-
ry, such as "First Class."
In addition it has an electronic bar
coding of the same information as
well as the ID number of the printing
device and a digital pattern that will
make each envelope unique and hard
. Next: A story about
ne local schools. Then
anaveral as the space
ing to the launch pad.
rs catches a break: A
him for a satellite
news director Robin
edule. She knows that
dered a rookie by her
news programs on
So she's particularly
rtage of their weak-
of story dry but
yard County resi-
ht slip by compet-
tions. They worry
ght yawn and click
dents want their rock-
?prah" or other enter-
a routine space shot.
leet for Smythe. She
ot just 30 minutes at
nformation is some-
ave come to expect,"
watches it 24 hours a
day, but they need it when they need it.'
Central Florida News 13 is one of
27 members of' the Association of
Regional News Channels. In 1992,
with only four stations, the associa-
tion was formed to share trade
secrets. Now, association president
Philip Balboni says cable news
channels operate in seven of the
nation's 10 largest cities, reaching
nearly 20 million homes.
"Every major market in the country
will have one of these regional channels
soon,' says Joseph Angotti, a University
of Miami professor who researches local
news. "They're just sprouting up all
This rapid growth is as much a busi-
ness strategy as a news strategy. Cable
competes for customers with satellite
dish systems, and a regional news chan-
nel gives cable operators a selling point
that their rivals cannot match.
Consider the New York City area,
something of a laboratory for new
approaches to local-news.
Ringing the city are Cablevision out-
lets, devoted to such specific suburban
areas as Long Island, New Jersey,
Westchester County and southwestern
The Psychology Peer Advisors Present
On Thursday, April 2, from 7-9 PM
4th Floor Terrace of East Hall
Mary Beth Damm from
Community Service Learning
Judith Lawson from
Career Planning and Placement
Handouts with information
about Summer Camps
Enter through the Church street Entrance. The
Elevator is to the left. Co to the 4th floor and
Follow the signs to the Terrace.
L1 l f l t1