Today’s Lesson: Just Say ‘No Comment’

It must be tough out there if you’re somehow ancillarily connected to the subject of a story topping the current news cycle — in this case the super-tragic one involving the Porter Ranch man who killed his children, his wife and her mother reportedly from a growing despondency fed by worsening financial woes.

I try to empathize with you out there: the ex-boyfriend or the high school teacher or the next-door neighbor or the coworker. You’ve got reporters from a variety of media outlets calling you and calling you and calling you. They’re hungry for kernels of connection and insight that might help flesh out the background. They pressure you with loaded questions seeking conjecture and opinion in hopes it will help sell newspapers and/or ultimately answer the question of why would someone do such a horrible thing.

Like I said, I try to empathize with you, but sometimes I don’t do very well. Especially in the case of Greg Robinson, an entrepreneur who apparently employed the killer in 2003 and 2004.

He’s quoted in the LA Times saying he had to terminate Karthik Rajaram because “his life wasn’t moving in the right direction,” whatever that means. And he goes on to describe the father having demonstrated some behavioral issues.

“He wasn’t reliable… He was not an emotionally stable person. It was a real problem and would affect any business he was involved in,” Robinson said.

See, here’s the thing: that may totally be true — and given the horrifying outcome discovered inside that Porter Ranch home, calling the man emotionally unstable is putting it mildly. So I’m not at all doubting the veracity of Robinson’s perceptions. I’m just pretty dead certain they didn’t need to be said. For one, kicking the dead — even the heinous dead — so soon is pretty much bad form. And if that’s not enough, let’s look at the purpose such statements serve: none.

Regardless of those two entirely sufficient reasons to just STFU, Robinson instead felt the compulsion to denigrate the man when what he should have said when fielding the question was simply, “No comment.”