Police respond to double shooting at St. Peter's Episcopal… (David Greisman / Howard…)
I was greatly dismayed to read the recent remarks of Nick Nichols, president of the Ellicott Hills Neighborhood Association, that "maybe they [St. Peter's Episcopal Church] should be doing that type of charity elsewhere" in reaction to the fatal shootings there.
St. Peter's has been providing charity to the downtrodden of the area since the beginning of the Ellicott City settlement. Like church food pantries all over the country, the one at St. Peter's provides a vital emergency service to many families who are living on the margins including those whose loved ones have recently been laid off in these tough economic times and need temporary assistance. Churches like St. Peter's value a spirit of inclusiveness and giving, one that does not seek to limit itself in geographic terms as Mr. Nichols suggests.
Mr. Nichols seems unaware of the fact that those who are struggling and in need exist just a few blocks from his door. St. Peter's Episcopal has always been known for their work in the community. Would Mr. Nichols have them cancel their Computers for Kids program, promoted by their website, which provides local children personal computers to complete their schoolwork simply because it takes place in "his" neighborhood? Should the myriad of local churches close their doors to Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous programs that seek to aid individuals in recovery simply because it occurs in "his" neighborhood?
To blame the victims' basic goodness and commitment to providing aid for bringing this tragedy upon themselves is a deplorable explanation for an unspeakable and isolated crime that could have occurred anywhere. I have always looked at The Sun as a publication committed to community building that covers and is written for a wide demographic of readers; the inclusion of the comments of Mr. Nichols can only be viewed as a misstep in the newspaper's strong legacy of good reporting and journalistic sensitivity.
Amanda Kinslow, Ellicott City