Reactions to Horrors Involving Coppell Mayor, Dallas Chief Tell a Tale of Two Tragedies

That's it. I have waited three days. Time to speak up. Where are all of the outrage junkies who couldn't wait to pour salt in the wounds of bereaved Dallas Police Chief David Brown over the death of his cop-killer son?

Why aren't they venting at roughly the same decibel level over the City of Coppell's decision to fly flags at half mast for their kid-killer mayor? And what about somebody's decision to hold a joint funeral for the kid-killer and the kid she killed, as if there were some sort of equivalence?

Not only is Coppell flying flags at half mast at city facilities to mark the death of Mayor Jayne Peters, who shot her daughter and then herself Tuesday night: The city is bragging about it, according to this morning's story in The Dallas Morning News. A city spokesperson told reporter Brandon Formby: "She did a lot for this community, and that's simply what we're recognizing, that our head of state has passed."

But in the wake of disclosure of a city investigation into the late mayor's expense account, we need to amend the spokesperson's statement in order to make it fully accurate: Coppell is honoring the death of its kid-killing, suicide-committing, possible embezzler mayor.

Oh, and by the way: For the kid-killer's funeral today, the Coppell Police Department will be providing traffic control. Remember all the outragers who wanted Chief Brown to resign because Dallas cops did the same for his son's funeral?

So where are they now? What's the difference?

For my own part, I guess I feel the same way about this that I did about the Brown story. People get all screwed up in the head and make flaky decisions when they are gob-smacked by grief. As long as the mourners don't kill anybody else or hold up a liquor store, the rest of us could afford to withhold judgment.

But I am also struck by the difference.

The News today ran two big pieces by female writers expressing all kinds of empathy for the late mayor. Jacquielynn Floyd wrote, "Yet, she belonged to an elite sorority I have never understood, the superwomen who effortlessly juggle family, career and civic involvement."

Fine. I would add: She belonged to another sorority too - women who (allegedly) steal money and abuse their kids. And by the way, far from rare or elite, that particular sorority is very well represented in the populations of our jails and prisons, where Jayne Peters would have gone for a very long time had she not cheated the jury.

The only people quoted in The News story who objected to the joint rites were the teenage friends of the murder victim, 19-year-old Corinne Peters. No kidding. What's the lesson? "Kids, sometimes really wonderful parents who are great people and fine members of the community may have to put a cap in your head. Try not to piss us off."

This is very awkward to bring up at this point, but in the light of all this outpouring for the kid-killer, were there no good things or sympathetic words that could have been said and written about Chief Brown's son? Maybe he belonged to an elite fraternity of young men fighting their way back from youthful problems. Maybe I'll work on that one myself.

In the meantime, my big question is the difference. Where are all the rage-heads who wanted to top brass fired from the Dallas Police Department because they sent officers to control traffic at Brown's son's funeral? Does anybody else see a dichotomy?

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze