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Disbelief, Shock, Anger and Incredible Sorrow

April 13, 1985

Marlene Woods' poignant article (Editorial Pages, March 29) on her brother's murder closely echoes my feelings on the murder of my friend David Huffman in February. At first there was disbelief, then shock, sadness, and anger followed by incredible sorrow. My entire family could not believe that David was dead.

Like Woods' brother, David was stabbed, not by an acquaintance, but by an unknown assailant as he attempted to disrupt a burglary. That this individual could end such a meaningful life with two quick thrusts of a screwdriver was incomprehensible. It could almost render all that came before it meaningless, if we let it.

That is why I prefer not to dwell on how David died, but how he lived. His was an active live, one filled with hope, joy and love. His love for his wife was the constant that helped generate and nurture his tremendous skill as an actor. His love for his two young sons could be seen on his face whenever he was with them, and he was with them as often as possible. His love for his friends and his fellow man could be seen in his thoughtfulness and his selflessness. He was an incredibly good man. Perhaps that was his only flaw, for it was his goodness and selflessness that brought on his demise.

When tragedy strikes, it is easy to slip into a well of hopelessness and despair. Yet there are lessons to be learned. David's death painfully reminded us of our own mortality. It taught us to enjoy the time we have and use it well. It taught us to appreciate our loved ones and be glad for their presence. Unfortunately, it made us all question the wisdom of becoming involved.

Now, more than ever, we all need to become involved. Rather than chasing criminals, it is our duty to see that justice is done. The complexities and shortcomings of our legal system become all too real after someone is murdered. It seems that more and more killers receive light sentences or go free on technicalities.

The public must insist on stricter laws and harsher sentences as one deterrent to violent crime. We, the survivors, need to ensure that the criminals are punished so that we, too don't become victims. If that is one outcome of the tragic murders of Ms. Woods' brother and Mr. Huffman, then all was not in vain.

LIBBY J. ATWATER

Los Angeles

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