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David Carr: Inspired by Catholic Charities; Mourned by the World

Posted on February 17, 2015 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

 

 At Catholic Charities, we mourn David Carr, the brilliant, irascible New York Times columnist who dropped dead at his desk at The New York Times last week from lung cancer.

From his memoir, Night of the Gun, many of us know the story of this powerful writer and his metamorphosis from cokehead to media guru. But few know that he scored his initial inspiration and first story after learning from his dad about a Catholic Charities staff member beaten for standing up for men being bullied.

 I was at my parents’ house one day in 1982 when my dad told me about his pal Peter, a guy who ran Catholic Charities. He watched as a couple of beefy cops pounded two black suspects already in custody. Peter stepped toward them to ask why they were beating up those guys and got a piece of same. It sounded outrageous. “Somebody should do a story about this,” I said to my dad. Maybe, my dad said, it should be you. I called the editor of the Twin Cities Reader. He sounded interested, in a bored, yeah-sure kind of way, committing only to read what I came up with. I pretended I knew what I was doing — isn’t that what most of life rests on? — and fumbled my way through police reports, disciplinary records, and relevant witnesses. With my pal David over my shoulder, I wrote it up. When it came time to deliver, I found myself chattering away in front of Brian, the editor, unable to hand it over.

That’s what we do at Catholic Charities. We stand up for those who others forget. And we serve as  inspiration for some  we will always remember. RIP David Carr.