To the Editor:
After reading the article about the brutal attack on the Cipriano family, my stomach was in knots and my heart truly goes out to all of them. I could not believe that a boy I had gone to school with for years was capable of committing such a heinous act. The story is heartbreaking and I do not intend to demean it in anyway by saying that there is another tragedy involved here. The media has chosen to relay irrelevant information in the developing story that may be seemingly unimportant, but could cause prejudiced ideas to circulate.
With that being said, all stories should be reported accurately and with as much detail as possible, but not at the expense of others. Frankly, I am offended that his adoption was deemed acceptable to include in the story. I am also shocked that there was not more consideration put into this matter by the professionals who aired the story.
Adoption seems like such a small and simply factual word that really should not offend anyone. In fact, to most, it’s a happy word with positive feelings of family, acceptance, and love behind it. However, the media has thoughtlessly, unjustly, and unnecessarily portrayed it in a negative light by using it to define a troubled murderer.
Tucker Cipriano was adopted, but this information has no place in the horrifying story that unfolded in Farmington Hills. The bottom line is that he did this because he was using drugs and/or has serious mental health issues, not because he was adopted or suffered some trauma as a baby. So unless a
psychiatrist determines that Tucker killed his father because he was adopted, the inclusion of the clause is inappropriate and could potentially be detrimental to others.
By including the word “adopted” in these articles, the media gave it a negative connotation, whether they realize it or not. It is not only unfair, but appalling because it is allowing new biases to surface and condoning the generalization of adopted kids as “troubled” kids. Not everyone has the cognitive ability to sort out and understand the difference between good and just plain bad; obviously we still have prejudices in today’s society. It is common knowledge that people will have preconceptions on a variety of subjects no matter what, but it is not necessary or helpful to encourage it.
I would not be surprised if I now get looked down upon because of these articles’ choices. I would not be shocked to learn that many openly adopted kids are starting to get treated differently by their friends’ families or even just their friends. And God forbid it would go so far as to affect how their own family members start to see them.
However, the potential damage does not stop there. Not only can this story affect those who are already adopted, but it could seriously affect those who have yet to be. Now, anyone that may have been on the fence about adopting may very well just say, “Forget it, I can’t deal with a ‘troubled’ kid.” Even those who were certain that they wanted to adopt before, could be second guessing it, if not backing out altogether. In stating this, I do not wish to say that no one will adopt children now because there are still good-hearted, well-educated people who can realize this was just an anomaly. Even so, I feel it is safe to say, this story could still affect them and will undoubtedly remain in the back of their mind.
It is so tragic that now, by just having a simple word in the articles and news casts, anyone who hears about it, has this murder story as their availability heuristic for adopted children. Even if a few reporters care enough to write articles about the adopted kids who love their families and are grateful every day, others will still remember the murder case instead. Even if reporters were to talk about the adopted kids who have gone on to do great things and be wonderful, loving people, it will not change the fact that the word “adopted” has been tarnished. It is deplorable to know that now, anytime someone thinks about adopted children after hearing this story, they will see Tucker Cipriano’s face.
Thanks for reading,
- a young, successful, compassionate, ADOPTED individual