Church Officials Defend Killing
The compassion and sympathy shown by the eyewitnesses toward Woody, and their shock and horror at his killing, was apparently not shared by the church officials, none of whom witnesses the killing. Yet their absence did not stop them from attempting to justify the killing, even apparently misrepresenting themselves as witnesses in order to spin the story to make Woody the villain.
For instance, a number of unattributed statements appear to have been made by interim minister Deborah Mero in order to make the shooting appear justified. This December 3rd article contains the following:
|"He yelled at people to memorize them. 'Memorize these!'" said one witness who asked not to be identified. "This guy was not peaceful. He was traumatizing us." ... "[the police] were doing their job, that's all I know. They were protecting us."|
On the answering machine tape a voice can be heard to say to the police:
|Is he injured? ... Thank-you, you did a very good job.|
The voice is that of a woman who apparently re-entered the room after the shooing. This attitude also runs throughout the UUWorld Magazine article, which seems intent on dehumanizing Woody. It contains the ad-homenim attack:
|Another challenge has been that friends of Woodward consider him to be gentle and loving, but that is not what church members witnessed|
These statements all fit a pattern of being unattributed, of blaming the victim and showing no sympathy for him or his loved ones, of claiming to speak for the church and congregation, and of being in stark contrast to the sentiments expressed by the actual eyewitnesses, most of whom were shocked and incredulous that the police had used live ammunition on Woody.
That Deborah Mero was the source of these statements is suggested by their similarity to the theme of the rededication ceremony she held a week after the shooting, a cruel insult to friends of Woody who had traveled to the church in a spirit of healing.