Baltimore Sun columnist: My heart aches for Sgt. Bales

Susan Reimer

In her Baltimore Sun column this week, Susan Reimer wrote that “I am ashamed to admit that my heart aches for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, and I feel almost nothing for the families of the Afghan men, women and children he is accused of killing.”

Baltimore Magazine’s Evan Serpick tipped me off to the column, which he said “has stirred up many angry comments on the Sun website and Facebook page.” (I checked the Sun site late Wednesday and saw only four comments.)

I asked Reimer about the column and what kind of reaction she’s getting. She writes:

The column was honest and heartfelt and not at all easy to write.

I expected it would generate strong reaction among The Sun’s readers, but I was somewhat surprised, and deeply gratified, by the positive response I received.

Many of the readers said I was giving voice to their feelings. Others said that, though they disagreed with me, they appreciated my candor.

This is an example:

I just wanted to tell you that although I seldom, if ever, agree with you, your commentary on staff sgt. Robert Bales was one of the most honest writings I have seen in a very long time. I feel the exact same way but don’t know i would have the courage to admit it. Thanks for your honesty.

Only two or three of the emails I received could be considered “angry.”

In addition, it is important to say that no comments were removed from beneath the online version of the column [as Serpick claimed in the first version of his piece].

* Reimer: Sympathy for an accused murderer
* Reimer’s “crazy” Baltimore Sun column stirs ire



  1. Mark said:

    It would be hard to feel anything for nameless, faceless victims. I haven’t read any of the names of the Afghan victims, seen their photographs, etc.

  2. James Craven said:

    Good for Susan Reimer for her understanding and compassion for an American soldier who did what most of us cannot comprehend after serving in four combat rotations, being wounded, and seeing friends and comrades die in a foreign land.

    Each day we are hit with more news of Afghans killing innocent Americans because persons unknown burned issues of the Quran. It was a mistake that has cost too many their lives. Where, however, is Mr. Serpick’s indignation over those deaths, and the fact that the killers will not be caught or see a trial in Afghanistan.

    No one agrees or supports the actions of Sgt Bales. No one is glad that it happened. All people wish they could wind back the hands of time and intercede before he took that fateful walk in the moonlight. But his actions will not stop my compassion for someone who has put his life on the line, and will not stop my disdain for those who cannot feel compassion for him and for the thousands of other soldiers whose lives are forever changed by the experience of war.

  3. Nancy Imperiale said:

    Feeling compassion for Sgt. Bales but not his victims is two words I hope Romenesko can print: Fucked. Up.

  4. Mike Hagerty-Roach said:

    Nancy Imperiale said:
    Feeling compassion for Sgt. Bales but not his victims is two words I hope Romenesko can print: Fucked. Up.