07/04/2008 04:24 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Please help Brian Beutler--another victim of a stupid handgun crime

My previous column mentioned that the talented progressive blogger Brian Beutler was shot and wounded in a stupid and vicious botched mugging over a few cellphones. Further details of the incident can be found at

I understand from his friends that Brian is recovering nicely. Unfortunately, living in the country we do, his family may face significant financial consequences of his treatment and period of recovery. As a writer with a real day job, I am amazed that young journalists like Mr. Beutler can make a go of it, especially in expensive Washington. Many live pretty close to the waterline. I don't know Brian personally. I'd be surprised if he has the gold-plated health benefits my family receives.

If you are a fan of progressive media-- more to the point if you want to fight crime by embracing its victims when they most need help--consider a modest donation to the Brian Beutler Medical Relief Fund. A paypall account has been established and linkable at Spencer Ackerman's understated blog:

If you prefer the traditional approach, you can mail a check to

Brian Beutler Medical Relief Fund
c/o The Media Consortium
1319 F Street, NW - Suite 810
Washington, D.C. 20004

Postscript: Mr. Beutler is a talented young public person. Of course, he is no more or less deserving than many other crime victims. The same day he was wounded, word came that Richard Francis, a veteran decorated Chicago police officer, was killed in another pointless act of violence by a mentally disturbed woman. Francis worked nights, in part so that he could care for his intellectually disabled adult stepdaughter. Regular readers know that this issue has special meaning to me. Earlier this week, our university children's hospital treated a little girl who had been shot in the face in the aftermath of some unfathomable quarrel between local teens. I could go on.

Our thoughts are with each of these precious people, and with those close to them. In a different way, our thoughts also go out to the perpetrators and their families. These offenders will spend the rest of their days living with the consequences of committing an atrocity. The harm they bring to their loved ones is also profound.

I hope that the 2008 election will be a turning point in helping everyone who faces a serious health challenge. These violent incidents--and thousands of others--should lead us to redouble our efforts to prevent, deter, and address the consequences of violent crime.