Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Susan Powell


Our hopes and wishes for a brighter new year

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Shake up that Etch A Sketch. A new year dawns – and so does hope that the world can move beyond the blunders, disappointments and nasty predicaments of 2012.
Some of our hopes for 2013:

• The drawdown of U.S. troops – including Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers – continues on course in Afghanistan. The bleeding ends.

• The Seahawks win the Super Bowl in February.

• Gov. Jay Inslee proves better at finding money for public schools than his campaign rhetoric suggested.

• Washington’s pot smokers obey the law that legalized marijuana – especially the parts about licensed sales, and keeping the drug out of sight and away from minors.

• Randy Dorn, the state superintendent of public schools, gives up the idea of suing the voters to stop charter schools.

• Lawmakers figure out that they can’t keep starving higher education without squeezing Washington’s economic future.

• The state figures out how to fund the extension of Highway 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma, and the construction of the cross-base highway from Frederickson to Interstate 5.

• Tacoma’s municipal unions join T.C. Broadnax’s effort to control city spending and preserve public services.

• Republicans start treating climate change as a scientific issue, not a partisan sledgehammer.

• After getting booted by the voters, former Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam fades into deserved obscurity.

• Afghans and Americans see unmistakable justice done for the appalling massacre of 16 Afghan villagers in March.

• Police solve the disappearance of Susan Powell, whose husband, Josh, murdered their two small boys and killed himself in February.
Read more »


Steven Powell: A case study in family destruction

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Steven Powell’s conviction on 14 counts of voyeurism Wednesday should give police plenty of time – as he sits in prison – to explore his possible involvement in the disappearance of his daughter-in-law, Susan Powell.

His role in the corruption of her husband, who burned their two sons to death in February, is already obvious.

Josh Powell had a penchant for pornography and a tendency to demean and menace his wife, as Susan’s emails and other surviving documents have made clear. His murder of the two young boys doesn’t prove that he killed their mother, but it does prove that he was capable of worse. At the very least, one could say that Josh was not a paragon of respect for women.

Like father, like son.
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What’s real reason for withholding records in Powell case?

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Despite strong circumstantial evidence in the December 2009 disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, authorities in West Valley City, Utah, never filed any charges against the only person they say they suspected: her husband, Josh Charles.

Now that he’s dead – having killed himself and his two young sons – there’s no good reason to withhold records related to the investigation. The Salt Lake Tribune has tried to get those records, but the West Valley City Council has refused to release them.

The Tribune’s request is legitimate. It is in the public interest to determine why authorities failed to take action against Josh Powell – which might have prevented the February murders of 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charlie in Graham. And the newspaper could look into whether taxpayer money was responsibly spent in the two-year investigation.
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Utah authorities too timid, given their evidence

This editorial appears in Tuesday’s print edition.

Hindsight is 20/20. Even so, one can’t help but think that Utah police mishandled the case of the 2009 disappearance – and presumed murder – of Susan Powell.

Newly public documents detailing what West Valley City police knew about the case from almost the beginning look to untrained eyes like evidence that points directly to Susan’s husband, Josh Powell, as responsible for her death. The trained eyes of Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist and former King County prosecutor Anne Bremner agree.

“Based on the facts we now know, we would have charged Josh Powell with Susan Powell’s murder if it occurred in Pierce County,” Lindquist said. And Bremner said, “ There was compelling evidence he killed her. I prosecuted cases on far less than that and won them.” She currently represents the parents of Susan Powell.

But Utah authorities never acted on that compelling evidence, and Powell was free to move to Washington state where he horrifically murdered his two young sons and killed himself Feb. 5.

Among the findings that investigators had turned up shortly after Susan’s disappearance: her blood on the floor in the Powell home near a couch that had been recently cleaned and a letter she hid in a safe deposit box in which she wrote of her fear that Josh might kill her.

That, coupled with other suspicious information and Josh’s odd late-night “camping trip” with his sons on the night Susan disappeared, adds up to what seems like a strong circumstantial case. Read more »


Good move, Crime Stoppers

News that the family of Josh Powell wants to bury him near his sons’ grave in Puyallup got a lot of commenters riled. (Rightly so, I think; this was a pretty clueless move.)

So it was great to see this Tweet from Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Ed Troyer:

Crime Stoppers just purchased the cemetery plots next to the Powell boys. We own the plots on both sides of the single grave the boys are in.


Westboro Baptist: Reptilian and parasitic as ever

I wrote this – half-in-anger, half-in-parody – about a year ago. Seems timely to repost it now that this lovely clan is reportedly coming to Tacoma in hopes of befouling the funeral of the Powell boys.

“Thank God for 4 more dead troops. We are praying for 4,000 more.”
– The Westboro Baptist Church

The First Amendment doesn’t protect only the speech we hate; it also protects speech that bubbles up from the pipes of human septic tanks. We can’t fault the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to spit their venom

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Josh Powell’s pretense of innocence ends in atrocity

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

‘There but for the grace of God,” is a conventional and charitable attitude toward people who get in trouble with the law. The idea is that good guys and bad guys share a common humanity that the good guys do well to acknowledge.

It doesn’t work, though, in the case of Josh Powell. Some people really don’t have a human conscience.

Powell, who burned his children alive Sunday, appears to have been a sociopath – an exceptionally stealthy one.

For more than two years, he’s been the only “person of interest” in

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