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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The P-I’s Craptastic Headline

Posted by on March 29 at 12:29 PM

Maybe I’m being hypersensitive, but today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer cover headline makes me want to puke.


As the P-I story puts it, “One young man told Seattle police he invited Kyle Huff to his after-hours party because he was ‘sketchy’ and gave off ‘bad vibes’—and he thought it would be entertaining to have someone like that at his house.”

Nice try, P-I, but there’s no fucking way you can blame this crime on the victims—not if you want to sleep at night.

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The blame for the killing can only fall on Kyle Huff's shoulders. NO-One disputes that.

However, there are ancillary questions that need to be addressed.

Regrettably, I cannot in good conscience hear that 14 and 15 year old children (whether they be boys or girls) should have been anywhere near this after hours party.

What adult (I don't care if it's an 18 -year old or a 36 year old) would thinks it's cool to have an unsupervised Junior High School Kid in their home, let alone at 5,6,7 etc..AM?

That's not even discussing the aspect that alcohol and pot were available at the party.

I don't want to sound like an old woman, but christ man, that's a screwed up scene.

Maybe I need to look at the article again, but I read it as saying they invited him to the party because they felt sorry for him, rather than a sinister desire to have someone really miserable hanging around.

The moral of the story: never feel sorry for red state hicks with too many guns.

You're right. You are hypersensitive.
(And the stranger calling any other media publicication's headlines "craptastic" is like Hitler calling Mussilini a Fascist.)

David's right--the intent of the headline is to suggest the victims are partially to blame. To suggest otherwise is naive. And, Someguy? The "issues" you identified existed before the killings and exists right now--so what exactly are you suggesting? Do expect the killings to be a catalyst for social change? Force parents to be responsible? What would that look like, exactly? Curfews? Jail time for lax parenting? Don't you think they should be a catalyst for gun control? I'd feel a hell of a lot better about anyone, 14 or 36, being out all night if guns/rifles/assault weapons/ammo, et al, weren't as easy to get as an STD. Focus on the real issue.

come on,
what's the real issue? please tell me.

and one last comment. regardless of whether you think the headlines or whatever is somehow trying to blame the victims, if the point, is in fact true that one or more of the ravers invited this guy huff to the party for some sick entertainment value of seeing some awkward big dumb hick in their environs, isn't that kind of playing right into this loser's psychopathic problem of being an outcast? i'm not blaming the victims here, but don't you think this huff guy chose who he was going to shoot up for a reason?


What a load of crap.

You want real Issues?

Great, try this on for size.

1. Kyle Huff and no-one else killed these people.
2. Lack of parenting put these two kids into a bad situation. Yes, I think at the very least, shitty parents should be fined for being... shitty parents.
3. Inviting a Stranger to your home because he looks "sketchy" put these kids in danger, aside from it being a pathetically stupid (and in this case fatal) thing to do. More then likely the victims relatives will use this and the fact that there were minors at the party as grounds for a lawsuit.
4. Serving alcohol to minors is illegal. Had the police shown up and the girls been identified as minors, the people holding the party would have been arrested.
5. Gun control is an issue that needs to be corrected, but it's just one of the issues.

BTW, when did having adults in their 20's thru mid 30's become a social norm that would reuire a change?

Now grow the fuck up

That last sentence was supposed to hacve read...

BTW, when did having adults in their 20's thru mid 30's have 14 and 15 year old girls at their house all night become a social norm that would require a change?

I heard that the 14-year-old had lost her ride home, so the blue house people gave her a place to stay.

Evil bastards.

Just saying...

I go back to my grow up statement.

Several of the adults who hosted this party were in their mid to late 30's.

Anyone over the age of 21 shoud have the presense of mind, when a Junior high school kid shows up at your house at 3 or 4 AM (or an unsupervised 14 or 15 year old at all) an adult would:
1.Call her parents and arrange for them to pick up their child.
2. Give their contact info to the parent and assure them that the child is in good hands.
3. Not let that kid out of your sight until the've been picked up.
4. make damn sure if there was pot or whatever other drugs (and I certainly think there were other drugs beyond the admitted pot) are put away until these children have been retrieved by their parents.

I don't know how acting reponsible around a child makes you evil, but......


1. You

2. Are

3. A

4. Fucking

5. Idiot

Take care,



Newsflash... guys in their 20's and 30's cruising for 14 and 15 (of the 20 people at the party, at least 3 were 14 or 15) year old girls are called child molestors.

In other news, South Carloina gave the okay for twice convicted child molestors to be executed.

But, then again, I am the idot

last word

i hada funny hunch one of those kids musta had a ride fall apart on them. happened to me many times when i was in my teens and yeah you'd crash somewhere. and no my parents weren't bad. i was a sneaky kid. and only got caught a couple of times.

Yeah, I agree that you're being a bit oversensitive. The headline itself is actually blaming Kyle Huff's bad attitude, for one thing. And the passage you quoted is just straight reporting on what some kid told the police. I don't see any editorializing at all.

I seriously doubt that the reporter who wrote that story in any way thinks the victims are to blame. Honestly, I know a lot of reporters at both papers and the ones I've talked to so far about this story are just as devastated as the rest of us.

I have a 15 year old son.

He is a great kid, reasonably responsible about taking out the trash, especially when his allowance depends on it. He's good about remembering to empty the dishwasher when I glare at him. I leave my younger children in his care when we need a babysitter, and feel fine about that.

He's also reasonably irresponsible. He "forgets" to study. He surfs places I'd rather not see him go. He listens to his iPod louder than I think is right.

We're on the same page about a lot of things (politics, movies) but on different pages about many things (some of his music, some of my music).

He's a NORMAL KID. He's also exploring the world, the limits and his life-beyond-a-suburban-Silicon-Valley-high-school. I know that, and it scares me to death.

If you're having a party where there are drugs or alcohol or guns or adults doing adult things -- anything you might even think of as inappropriate for a sophomore to see or do -- please do ME a favor and kick his ass out the door. Please. He has his own cell phone, and if it isn't charged or he's lost it ... he knows how to borrow one and call for a ride, or how to walk home (he got there, didn't he?) or how to take a bus or how to take care of himself getting home.

What he doesn't know is how to take care of himself AT that party. He'd tell you he does, I'm telling you I go to those kinds of parties with my Burner friends, and I don't think it's the right place for kids. I don't think it's the right place for my kids, and if other parents are there with their teenagers, I make a point to stay away from the kids -- and their parents -- because it's just not something I agree with and don't want to get drawn into. (I would do the mom thing, anyway, and tell them to get the hell outta here, this is a grownup party, and take your immature parents with you, ok?)

And if my son's at your party and you offer him alcohol or pot or something else, you can bet your ass I'll turn you in when I figure out who you are. Not because my son didn't ask for it, not because he didn't go there and want it, but because he is a KID and you are an ADULT and what that means is that you should know better and that he doesn't, by virtue of his age, know better.

I'm a good parent and I think I have good tabs on my kids. I invite the teenagers to stay at my house and eat us out of house and home because I'd rather they be there than wandering the streets or staying somewhere I can't see them.

I'm sure you know some mature 15 year olds. My kid would tell you he is one. But it's impossible for a 15 year old to comprehend some parts of what it takes to be mature enough to make decisions. It is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for their nureons to fire in ways that let them make the important value and safety judgments that are required to keep them alive.

My heart goes out to everyone at the blue house. Everyone in our community here is aching.

I wish like hell that someone would have taken the rational steps outlined by "Someguy" (why don't people use their real names? Don't be afraid of your thoughts!). Call the parents, talk to someone in charge, protect the minors until you can hand them off to a parent/guardian.

Yeah, that would have saved a victim or two, and if it were my son you can bet your ass I'd be furious at anyone who didn't take care of him, even if he was irresponsible and I was irresponsible. I'd be blaming God and wet paint and long-haired dogs and Johnny Cash and Cheetos and anyone/anything else in my line of sight because I would be so broken and so betrayed by life to have had something so horrible happen to someone I love so thoroughly.

But even taking all the above in stride, it would not have stopped this tragedy. Blaming the homeowners, the party hosts, the partygoers, the potato chips, the dip, the beer, the shag carpeting, the screen door -- none of this helps. None of it helps because it doesn't fix anything, nor does it prevent the next tragedy from happening.

What we can do is blame Kyle Huff and the demons that dwelled in his mind. We can try to understand his thinking and what caused his thinking and ideations and his deep-rooted rage and his own desire to die. We may never know any of this, but really, this is the only thing we can know that will help a damn thing. Oh yeah, well, getting rid of all the fucking guns in the country would help too but I don't see THAT happening. And I have enough common sense to realize that even if the guns were gone, he might have come in swinging a baseball bat or a tire iron or a blow torch.

The cause of this tragedy is not known. But we know what things ARE NOT causes: The victims, the finger foods, the invitees, the hosts, the color of the house.

So two things:

1) Don't even think about blaming the victims ... they don't deserve a single whisper of blame for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, even if they were underage and stupid for being where they were.

2) Please, please protect my son if you see him acting stupid or being somewhere he should not be. Protect anyone's son or anyone's daughter. Be the one who's overprotective in that situation -- refuse to let it be OK that they're there, make a stink about teenagers being at an afterparty like this, or at a bar, or in certain other situations ... just do this, please?


In the real world - and I think we are there - boys have a hell of a lot less risk at 14-15 than girls.... a small fraction.

There is not way any thinking person of any age can condone the parental neglect ot those parents. This is a wacky town in some ways, cause as we all know, we are mushy about life.

In many places in the world, those parents would go to jail for neglect.

I grew up with two sisters, the three of us close in age - some pranks, but as the brother - I would have never let this happen.

All the media has been great. The PI headline is a repeat of what the person said verbatim.

Now to Mr. Huff.

Even if we understood more about him, we will NEVER understand him.
Interesting case study to us because in the modern world we all have some feeling for the psycho drama social matrix culture around us, modern education, urban conventions.....the stuff of modern city life.

BUT we can never understand a mass murderer.

Still waiting for the sex stuff at the rave and the party.... was someone else screwing his trick for the night?

And what drugs - An old guy ex hippie neighbor is convinced he was having a horror acid - as in LSD - trip.

As he said " the worst of bummers."

Please also don't forget (not that it's an excuse), unless I'm actually bartending that night or I'm the actual host...I don't know how old your kids are.

More than once I've been talking to someone and then realized after she said something about "school" that she wasn't talking about a college class. It's especially normal after a certain age (and I've noticed with burners and the young at heart in general) to kind of think everyone is in the same age range. It's shocking when you realize that someone is not 21.

Also, it's not the responsibility of non-hosts to make sure your 15-year-old goes home. If you think it's hard to keep tabs on your 15 year old, think how hard it is for someone who doesn't know him at a party to say, "hey, shouldn't you be calling your mom and going home?". However, that said, I'm probably still (especially and always at my own parties!) going to immediately say something about alcohol and drugs even if I don't try to tell them to go home. Remember, some of us aren't parents for a reason - we aren't good at laying down the law for teenagers!!! ;-) Good input though.

Jenmoon, you're great. I agree that it may not be the legal responsibility for a non-host to tell a kid/teenager to get the hell outta here.

But I do think that it is the moral responsibility of any human being to be on the lookout for anyone who may be in an unsafe circumstance. This is why I volunteer to help with a certain group @ Burning Man -- because I realize people may not be in a state of mind to make the rational decision that, "Hey maybe I ought to get out of this sun and have some water or maybe some food!"

I am a firm believer in self-reliance on the playa, but I also realize that if I can help, I should. And if I am certain the person is not able to rely on him/her self, I need to find someone who can help or help myself.

I also agree that it may be hard to tell how old someone is ... my advice would be to, um, ask. You can be funny about it ... "You're probably going to tell me you're 45, but you look really young. Do you mind telling me how old you are?"

"Hey are you OK here, it seems like maybe you aren't as old as some of us here -- I may be wrong, but wanted to ask."

Hell, no, it's not your place to quiz everyone at the party about their age, but I'm just saying USE YOUR COMMON SENSE. If someone looks like she's 14 years old, it's damn good that an alarm bell goes off in your head. You don't have to say anything ... go get the host or the bartender or someone and tell them to deal. (But if they don't, I still wish you'd do it ... at least for my kid, who really does look 14 or 15 years old, especially when he tries to look older ...)

And you know what? If it were the teenagers I know, they'd scamper if anyone even suggested they didn't belong. They KNOW they shouldn't be there and will run for fear of getting called on it. Maybe my kids are still kind of naive. That'd be a relief.

And I'm glad my daughter is still seven. I have, what, five more years before I have to worry about her getting invited to after parties?


I carded people I thought looked too young when they came to my parties and wanted our jello shots and beer. They were four 16-18 year old girls and I said no. I said they could stay, but they could not drink because they were too young. It's really not that hard to a) tell when someone is too young and b) tell them "no" if the situation calls for it.

I believe that Melissa is the one who's ride ditched her and another girl and Suzanne was actually part of the group, they all knew her, so I do blame her parents for not checking that she is where she says she was gonna be, or god forbid, actually letting her stay out all night with her boyfriend. I don't know the situation, but I do have a feeling that some better parenting could have been done and the guys who live in that house shouldn't be letting kids that young stay that late or even hanging out with them really.

I realize those guys were and are all really open-hearted, generous people and I don't want to fault them for that, yet some common sense has to be applied. As nice as it would be, none of us can go through life thinking that everything and everyone is cool and happy and fun.

To be clear, I do NOT blame the parents or anyone but Kyle for their daughters' being killed.

This killing was Kyle Huff's fault all by himself. If he doesn't snap, none of this happens.

If parents don't want their 14-15 year old kids going to raves, then maybe they should try, I dunno, PARENTING and keeping an eye on them. The rave culture is meant to be accepting, not act as a parent to children.

The P.I., whether or not they have an issue with underage kids attending parties and drinking (I'm guessing they would and would be justified in doing so), was totally irresponsible to try and shift the issue in that direction by posting a headline indicating that blame should be placed in part on the party's hosts and attendees. They are, just like the gun control proponents, trying to use this tragedy to further an agenda. The media has a responsibility to report the news, not to use it to intentionally slant the public towards an agenda.

Love the "New Media" echo chamber. Don't bother reporting about the murders anymore. Report about headlines in other newpapers.

After all it's easier to gripe about someone else's headline, that write a good headline yourself.

Here's an idea Stranger Staff - why not google "Kyle Huff Shooting Headlines" list all the headlines you find and then do a story about how bad all the headlines are.

That's much easier to write about than the fact that forty eight hours after this killing, your readers have already looked up the assessment of the murder location are are chomping at the bit for a good deal on a "prime Capitol Hill location".

Here's a headline for you:

With the murderous Capitol Hill property values, buyers finding it hard to make a killing.

Gomez - you are sounding like a churchie prissy.

Any fool knows a good party has a cast of various type people at it. I think the story was just a chat about - well he seemed a bit edgy - and so he was a bit of a novelty - we said come have some beer. You are reading too much into this. Every detail of this weekend is news at this point.

Of course, no body is saying that the gay boy ravers were wanting to see if he was a real stud - big and beefy, not too old, sounds like primo midnight trick material to me.

But, if this was church sponsored it might have been neutered too.

Horrors we dare not mention - cock sucking in the basement while smoking joints and drinking beer.

How could that happen at a Capitol Hill Seattle house party? Ravers have eliminated sex, is that it?

Tell us Gomez, you are the expert. I have been to those parties many times, hosted in houses that look so much like this it is uncanny.

Go Ravers, and let's tell the truth. It was not just a place to hang while waiting for the first bus. No way.

Bad troll attempt. You were going somewhere but then you pretty much lost everybody after that 3rd paragraph. Work on your form and try to stay focused next time. D-

he knows how to borrow one and call for a ride, or how to walk home (he got there, didn't he?) or how to take a bus or how to take care of himself getting home.

Of this list, only the first might be feasible at 5 a.m.

No one wants to walk the streets alone at 5 a.m. Buses don't run at 5 a.m. If you don't have any money for a cab, you can't ride home at 5 a.m. So you crash at the safest house you can find.

I think that's what the blue house was trying to provide -- a space for people to crash who couldn't get home.

5 A.M.

That's a valid excuse for a 19 or 20 year old.

At 32 or 36, there's a thing I like to call... "common sense".

It looks like you need a lesson, so print this up and keep it in your wallet (or purse).

When you see a 14 or 15 year old girl at the home of a 32 year old man @ 5 A.M. (who is not her father, stepfather, legal gaurdian or involved in a sleepover with your daughter) act like an adult.

1. If you witness this call the police.
2. If it's you, call her parents.
3. If it's you and you think this is a good idea, find professional counseling.

Hello son. It's nine o'clock! Where are you? Oh, Justin's house. OK. Can I talk to his mom?

Hi! Is it ok if the boys stay overnight there? Do I need to send food? Child support? OK, well thanks for having them, I'll keep and feed them tomorrow night!

OK, son, she says it's all right. Will you check in with me at 11 ... if you're ready to come home I'll give you a ride.

Oh, hi son. Thanks for checking in. Are you guys being quiet? It's 11 now, Justin's parents probably want to go to bed. What are you doing? OK, but remember you have chores in the morning ... don't be too late. I love you.

... Being 15 years old, the boys leave ... they're going to walk a few blocks to Burger King or 7-11. They end up going to the wrong place, or get a ride to a place they shouldn't go.

He could have done this 15 times already. I sincerely doubt it as he's usually broke ... he likes to go to the mall, but since I take/pick him up I'm pretty sure that's where he's been. A late movie? I usually go the 20-Screen-A-Thon and I see a Mom Movie and he and his friends pretend they don't know me and see what they want.

I don't "let" him go off on his own. I keep tabs on him. Sure, he goes to school dances, plays, football games, etc. With a cell, he could SAY he's wherever he wants, though I often make him call from a landline to report in.

BUT HE'S A STUPID TEENAGER. That's my point. HE'S NOT A GROWNUP. HE WILL DO STUPID THINGS. His friends will do stupid things. That is part of growing up. What I pray is that his mistakes don't kill him or get him hurt or fucked up. And in this context I'm not asking anyone to keep him (or any teenager) away from Huff -- I agree, no one could do that; it is too random.

But if you saw a two-year old walking by him/herself down a sidewalk you'd probably feel some compunction to stop and take the kid on the grass and sit and wait for a parent to show up and/or call 911 and report it.

What if it was a 7 year old lost at an amusement park? I'd feel the same way.

An 11 year old waiting for a bus by himself at a scary-looking bus stop? I would probably offer to let him use my cell phone, would NOT offer him a ride, would wait until the bus comes with him (me in my car, him at the bus stop). Just because I'm like that. I can't deal with the horror of not knowing he's ok.

A 15 year old at a party where there are drugs and alcohol? Damn straight, I'd get him out of there -- hand him a phone and ask to talk to a parent. When I get a parent on the phone I wouldn't bust the kid, just suggest he's in a place he probably shouldn't be and could they come and get him? If there's a parent on the other end who says "Hell no, he's too much of a troublemaker," then I would probably help the kid figure out a way home, or give him a ride home, or call a cab for him, or turn him over to social services or even the cops if I had to. This is what I would want YOU to do for my son. I'd rather have him in police custody than drunk and passed out somewhere or trying drugs or with people who might take advantage of him. Just my preference, yours might vary.

You want to fault my parenting? Go ahead. I'd love any suggestions. But "keep an eye on him" isn't quite enough ... it's not healthy to keep him home all the time, and it's fucking scary not to keep him home all the time. I rely on the kindness of strangers, I guess. It takes a village, and all that.


Great post Kristine,

Regrettably, there are people on this board actually thinking, wow, what a bitch...

I am not one of them. I agree with you 100%

As my parents always told me, It's not my job to be your friend.... We can form a friendship after you've graduated from College.

The solution is MORE teenage dance events not less! Keep the teen center open.

Parent's who won't let their fourteen year olds party till 6am at a stranger's house should be reading The Seattle Times. They are boring and old like that.

Capitol Hill Parent.

I agree with you on one point... Increase the number of teen dances, events, etc....

As to parents letting their 14 year old kids go to an adults house to party all night.

Your a fucking moron and have no business having kids.

It's not that I like defending men who lust after teenagers, but I do feel it necessary to point out that those men aren't child molesters. Adults who lust after, and assault, pre-pubescent children are child molesters. Men who lust after teenagers are dirty old men.

When I was a teenager, I flipped my lid whenever someone suggested that I was a child. I was not a child. I was on my way to being an adult which meant that, although I needed some parental guidance and protection, I should have been allowed to make my own decisions and be held accountable for them.


Your post proves my point. Teenagers ARE children, and BY LAW are not able to have consensual sex with a grownup.

"Dirty Old Men" actually are child molesters, and you damn well better believe there are plenty of them around. What the fuck is the difference between a man who lusts after a 10 year old and one who lusts after a 14 year old? It's ok because she's 14 years older?

I'm guessing you are still a teenager, and still think you're a grownup, but until you are 18 or 20, the fibers of your brain haven't developed quite enough for you (or any human) to be able to understand the long-term implications of decisions made now. That's a fact, Jack. You can't change that. A girl can't decide to sleep with a man who is aged 32. Until she's a woman, if someone more than 2 years older than her decides he needs to have sex with her, he's a fucking child molester and deserves a punishment I can't even articulate here because it's much more brutal than I probably mean, even though I do mean it.

Especially when it comes to repeating offenders, there's tons of evidence to say that NOTHING will stop them. NOTHING. And nothing will ever give the girl back the self-esteem and self-worth that she will lose by being treated like an object.

I'm old and boring enough to not even live in Seattle. ... But that doesn't mean YOU don't have a moral obligation to protect those who need help: animals, children, drunken adults, those being victimized, those in situations beyond their control. Afraid to help? Don't know how to help? How about an anonymous call to 911. That'd fulfill your obligation, in my opinion (just my opinion, nothing more).


It's obvious that irony is dead.

The "bad vibes" the young man was talking about would be a clowny pranksterish attitude, where you could say "poop is the shit" as a joke, and keep repeating it because it's so stupid. Or play the banannaphone song for about 9 minutes straight.

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