Anyone's Son
 


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Steve Casale
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Very True

July 3 2005, 9:05 AM 

I hope if it is infact of social importance to belabor this that is is presented in a true manner.

 
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Rich
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Re: Do you have the courage to tell the truth?

July 3 2005, 9:40 AM 

It never ceases to amaze me that the lessons of this horrific tragedy are still not learned after all these years. Harry was not a murdering lunatic. I too was one of his few friends growing up in Montvale. I agree with the other reply to your post.. The whole town of Montvale had their hands on the trigger the night that the Dela Roche family was murdered. The issue of not measuring up to his father's expectations and not being able to measure up to his father's idea of what a true man is, was in my estimation, the major contributing factor to the murders, BUT years of abuse and bullying by Harry's contemporaries also had a hand in this! The kids of yesteryear, who picked on Harry then, are still bashing him as adults.(It's sad that you were not able to extract the simple lesson from this tragedy and apparently, make any positive changes in your lives.I wonder what role models you serve to your children.) That is the truth that must be told. I do agree with you on your questioning the qualifcations of the people who are involved with this project. I find it interesting that only two people were contemporaries of Harry.. What perspective (truth) could people who graduated from PHHS 12-15 years later bring to this project? The "truth" you seek is also way off the mark. In order to find the truth, I would suggest that you start by reading your own comments and then take a good look at yourself.

 
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1975 Hills Graduate
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What nonsense!

July 5 2005, 11:07 AM 


I suggest you read the book and then you'll know who you are responding to
and that while his message depicts alot of emotion you'll find out that he does
know the truth!

 
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Jonathan Moncrief
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Gary, if it's you, I understand your concerns but...

July 3 2005, 1:35 PM 

If indeed it was Gary Hanna who posted the message, let me first start this reply by offering my condolences on the recent loss of your father. His dedicated service to Montvale was critical to it becoming the top quality community it now is, and has been the past 2 1/2 decades.

Let me also respond to your concern about the film. Gary, I was 8 when it happened. Over the years that followed, it took on a very "urban myth" quality. I fully believe that Harry committed these murders. This film is not going to be a JFK conspiracy movie where we attempt to "re-try the case". You know from my interview with you last fall about the 1979 Hills championship football team how much respect I have for you and your family.

But Gary, I had just moved to Montvale 2 months prior to the incident. I can't relate to Harry's state of mind that night; all I know is that I was severely and cruelly teased and tormented the first several years I lived in this town by my classmates, and very few people in authority were able to make it stop, or for that matter tried to make it stop. In fact, it got so bad that I changed schools for 4 years in large part due to this abuse, and this abuse began the same school year that the murders took place. Any outsider would naturally assume that this incident would have had such ripple effects, that it would be a wake-up call for the entire community to make sure it stopped happening. Instead, things progressed as normal.

So, do you think I can follow a linear path along the lines of Harry's abuse, which has been verified repeatedly by many of the classmates we have already spoken to, and add to that mix the other family pressures to understand what drove him towards that moment? Absolutely I can. Keep in mind, as well, that I was the son of a high school administrator, and that fact alone didn't prevent me from being virtually ostracized amongst my peers for years.

This is a timeless story, and if you don't think this could happen again, you should go and ask people at Columbine if they agree with you. I see my responsibility as a consultant and scriptwriter on this project to tell the entire truth, without placing blame or judgement on anything or anyone except where it needs to be. Maybe others wanting to contribute to this film have different motives, but I'm not going to assume they do, or paint them with one broad brushstroke, as wanting to "cash in".

Gary, I'm a storyteller. If this story can prevent this kind of incident from re-occurring; if a group of teenagers see this film and treat the "less popular" kids with more respect and dignity; if a teacher, guidance counselor, school administrator, clergy person, little league coach, or parent, can see this film and understand the long-term effects this kind of behavior can, in the extreme, lead to, and prevent it from happening; then I feel as though I will have contributed to an improved sense of community in this country.

Why is that such a bad thing?

Gary, I appreciate your feelings, and that you took the time to express them. One way to ensure that the film IS portrayed accurately and fairly is to be involved in the process of joining us. I personally welcome anyone to be involved in the making of this movie, even if they disagree with it being made like Gary does. That's the only way the ENTIRE truth can be told...

 
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LB, '79
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Re: Gary, if it's you, I understand your concerns but...

September 2 2005, 12:50 AM 


Jonathan, I'm going to quote your post intermittently throughout my response...

>>>>But Gary, I had just moved to Montvale 2 months prior to the incident. I can't relate to Harry's state of mind that night; all I know is that I was severely and cruelly teased and tormented the first several years I lived in this town by my classmates, and very few people in authority were able to make it stop, or for that matter tried to make it stop. In fact, it got so bad that I changed schools for 4 years in large part due to this abuse, and this abuse began the same school year that the murders took place. Any outsider would naturally assume that this incident would have had such ripple effects, that it would be a wake-up call for the entire community to make sure it stopped happening. Instead, things progressed as normal.<<<<<

I don't think one can "naturally assume" anything. The response was appropriate for its time. In those days (I can't believe I'm saying those words!) we didn't have a rabid press to keep a story alive until no end. As a kid, I always felt something was "wrong" in their family -- they just didn't seem happy, and Mr. De la Roche was pretty much a hothead and a disciplinarian. I never knew exactly what it was, but could surmise. I was friendly with Ronnie, knew Eric and Harry only by acquaintance. The community responded to their deaths in symbolic ways. A tree was planted in the courtyard at school in Ronnie's memory. The community eulogized the family, and then moved on. That's just the way it was... we didn't pick things apart in the media, analyzing things to death. The community didn't respond like Columbine, because it wasn't like Columbine. You can't compare the two, other than peer pressure being involved. It was a family tragedy, not a community one. It wasn't on the same scale at all. We mourned, we remembered, but we moved on.


>>>So, do you think I can follow a linear path along the lines of Harry's abuse, which has been verified repeatedly by many of the classmates we have already spoken to, and add to that mix the other family pressures to understand what drove him towards that moment? Absolutely I can. Keep in mind, as well, that I was the son of a high school administrator, and that fact alone didn't prevent me from being virtually ostracized amongst my peers for years.<<<

Jonathan, it was nearly the 80s. It was who you were, what you looked like, what labels you wore on your body that defined you to the general community. Add to that the fact that the area was rapidly becoming a desirable place to live and attracting people with money, so there was a bit of the "haves" and "have nots" and the "right side/wrong side of the tracks." Lastly, I suspect that the fact that you were the vice principal's son was the cause of you being "virtually ostracized," etc. If it wasn't the cause, it probably didn't help, I suspect it would never prevent it. I am sympathetic, and can relate to your feelings about your high school years. I seems that you relate to Harry on some level because of it.


>>>This is a timeless story, and if you don't think this could happen again, you should go and ask people at Columbine if they agree with you.<<<

Again, no real comparison. Different times, different circumstances... the only real connection is peer pressure. Timeless? I think that is a bit dramatic.

>>>I see my responsibility as a consultant and scriptwriter on this project to tell the entire truth, without placing blame or judgement on anything or anyone except where it needs to be. Maybe others wanting to contribute to this film have different motives, but I'm not going to assume they do, or paint them with one broad brushstroke, as wanting to "cash in".<<<

That's fair, but I think you should question why people want to be involved with this project and how much truth, or actual value they can bring to the table. Looking at this list of "consultants(?!!!)", from Ronnie's graduating class there are only two names who I could see were really friends with Ronnie, with one being a lot closer than the other. The rest mystify me.

>>>Gary, I'm a storyteller. If this story can prevent this kind of incident from re-occurring; if a group of teenagers see this film and treat the "less popular" kids with more respect and dignity; if a teacher, guidance counselor, school administrator, clergy person, little league coach, or parent, can see this film and understand the long-term effects this kind of behavior can, in the extreme, lead to, and prevent it from happening; then I feel as though I will have contributed to an improved sense of community in this country.

Why is that such a bad thing?<<<<

It's not a bad thing at all, but what makes you think that this is the vehicle to accomplish your goals?

>>>>Gary, I appreciate your feelings, and that you took the time to express them. One way to ensure that the film IS portrayed accurately and fairly is to be involved in the process of joining us. I personally welcome anyone to be involved in the making of this movie, even if they disagree with it being made like Gary does. That's the only way the ENTIRE truth can be told...<<<

It angered me to see that video trailer of Harry asserting that Ronnie murdered his family. Blaming Ronnie for doing things (drugs, hanging around with a "bad crowd") that he himself did, and worse. I have no pity for Harry. There were others who were picked on, had worse family lives, but didn't murder their family. Harry dished out as much as he took.

See, this is what is sad to me: "that's the way the ENTIRE truth can be told"... because the film will be made one way or another, right? With only the welfare of a community in mind, right? That's where it all falls apart. We only have the viewpoint of a convicted murderer, because obviously, he is the only one alive. Who speaks for Ronnie? Who defends Ronnie from his brother's allegations? Who speaks for Eric? Or his parents?



 
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pam
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Re: Gary, if it's you, I understand your concerns but...

September 5 2005, 11:56 PM 

Quote:

We only have the viewpoint of a convicted murderer, because obviously, he is the only one alive. Who speaks for Ronnie? Who defends Ronnie from his brother's allegations? Who speaks for Eric? Or his parents?


Amen to that! A well spoken comment in a board that's meh, kind of dumb.

 
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Spell Check Police
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Hey Gary, see ya at the movies. Oh and..

July 3 2005, 2:23 PM 

next time explore the preview/edit button before entering your response/OPINION!

 
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Eddie
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Hard to believe after nearly three decades....

July 5 2005, 9:09 PM 

I just can't believe that after three decades, there is still rock throwing and mud slinging going on amongst (what should be) adults.

I personally hope the movie flies and I look forward to seeing it. Truth or fiction, if every writer was shot down in flames for their controversial projects, we wouldn't have much to read or watch.

 
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Adele Hirschmann
(Login MsJazz)

I hope the truth gets told...

July 7 2005, 12:12 PM 

in a factual and non-sensational way. I think my sister Barbara graduated in the same class with him.

I hope, in the light of Columbine and other school shootings (although none occurred at the High School), the film raises an awareness of what it's like to have overbearing parents with more-than-unrealistic expectations, to suffer for years without appropriate mental health treatment due to a guidance staff that pretty much went "by the book" by enforcing existing rules and evaluated the students by their test scores, rather than by caring for them as individuals, allowing more than just a few to fall through the cracks. There was also a "culture of cover-up" at the time to make the school look good by glorifying the athletic teams, cheerleaders, those who looked like they "fit into the mold" and the students who got the best grades, i. e. the Honor Society and Debating Teams. This should be brought out in the film.

 
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William J. Hansen, Ph.D.
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What is the Truth?

July 8 2005, 3:02 PM 

As a Clinical & Forensic Child Psychologist at the University of Cincinnati, and as a graduate of Pascack Hills High School, Class of 1981, I was dismayed to see the postcard from Starline Flims grace my mailbox. My inbox has spam filters. I wish my U.S. Postal Service mailbox had such a filter. I'm glad my children didn't see the postcard. I'm not at all sure why Pascack Hills High School is pictured. Wasn't the murderer enrolled in a military college in South Carolina? Why not depict that institution on the cover? Why not Fieldstone, or whatever middle school the murder attended? Why not the house of worship that the murder attended?

I agree with Gary. It is amazing, and rather disturbing that people gravitate toward the horrible. Crime, horror, tragedy, trials of the rich and famous, train wrecks, road kill, it all grabs our attention. OJ, Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, now we turn our attention to Harry. It isn't an attractive character trait. Starline would have no interest, financial or otherwise, to make a film about any other member of the class of 1976, or 1974, or almost any other year.

I don't believe for a moment that this film is being made for some greater good. There is no data to suggest that the film "Monster" had any impact on the murder rate of murdering prostitutes. There is no data to suggest that any film, or made for TV movie at all related to Columbine had any effect, positive or negative, on every school shooting that followed. Please be honest. The calculation is that the money generated by this film will be larger than the entire cost of production. Nothing is wrong about profit, but please let's not pretend that this film is a docummentary or a public service project.

No, I suspect that this movie is being made because it is a compelling/interesting story, that stimulates that unsavory part of us that is titilated by violence. The hope of the producers is that it will make money.

Is the murder a lunatic? No. Lunacy is defined as "any of various forms of insanity". It was once believed that it was a form of insanity believed to be related to phases of the moon. More recently, it has had the connotation of insanity amounting to a lack of capacity or of responsibility in the eyes of the law. The record indicates that this murder was found criminally responsible for his actions. He was not found "not guilty by reasons of insanity" He was found guilty. He is not a "lunatic". He is a murderer.

I suspect that the murder is personality disordered. He was not schizophrenic at the time of the murders. He was not diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder at the time of the murders. My sense is that this murder is nothing more than a sad, pathetic empty man with a severe personality disorder. He likely had a myriad of problems, including social problems, emotional problems, and family problems. Many people do. Rarely do people murder because of a constellation of these problems. Was it obvious to his peers that he was rather disturbed? I suspect it was. The weak and the weird are often marginalized by their peer group. They seem to have a much greater ability to recognize the strangness in peers as compared to adults. "

Lunatic is a much more colorful term. This fellow was/is a loser. He has a personality disorder.

I applaud Gary for his compelling post. I too hope that this story, if it must be told, that it will be told in a manner based on the truth as opposed to a book that was co-written by a personality disordered murderer.

 
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Anonymous
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Re: What is the Truth?

July 8 2005, 6:57 PM 

BRAVO!!!!!

 
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Rich
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Re: What is the Truth?

July 8 2005, 8:17 PM 

Nicely said... The truth is out there but not contained within the pages of Anyone's Son... Unfortunately most of Harry's peers either don't have the proper perspective to see the truth for what it is/was (judging from their message board posts), OR they do not want to revisit old, but painful memories. I think that the producers of this movie should leave well enough alone... If they did their research it would be clear that there would not be a large audiance for this movie. Unfortunately, in these troubled times in which we live, there are other stories that are more "sensational" to exploit.

 
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Relocated
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Is Violence & Murder ever the right answer?

July 17 2005, 11:20 PM 

I totally agree with the Clinical & Forensic Child Psychologist's email. PHHS/Montvale did NOT pull the trigger. What kind of message are we giving that violence, even murder, is the right way to deal with problems?

The creepy thing is that by doing this movie and the message board, another person's email could be correct: Harry could be reading this now or someday and feel justified by some of these sappy emails.....or worse a similarly bullied teen could be reading....and think the way to get sympathy or any attention and 'power' is to revert to violence....and yes, get mass media attention. Why does the public seem to glorify this ugly stuff?

So, I agree: profit is the gain here: not "for the good of youth, society, blah, blah, blah...". So, let's not kid ourselves with guilt-cleaning or 'poor-Harry' emails. The time for kindness and tolerance for Harry was twenty years ago...not now..so let the pity and movie stop.

And I love all of the "all about me" responses...This murder may have had nothing to do at all with anyone from PHHS. Why isn't Citadel on that postcard? Isn't it time for all of the high-schoolers to grow up and see the bigger picture and it's not "all about us?" Yes, maybe some are feeling guilt for bystanding or even bullying him, but he chose his response. And no-one else was in that house but that family...so who are we to judge what caused it? He didn't plea "insanity" and was found guilty. I just don't want to justify bad judgement of Harry that night....nor glorify it for any other teen to even think that violence and putting a gun in your hand is the right answer to any problem. Let's look at the bigger picture and effect that this movie really could have on a troubled teen...not "it's all about me".

I also agree that this movie may mark Montvale as a horror town and this bad event will adversely affect innocent people in Montvale yet again.

There is no need for another movie to teach society a "lesson"....let it go and don't give a bad response some more bad attention.

P.S. I did go to school with Harry. I'm sorry for all of those bad memories being resurfaced by profit-mongers and small minded people and hope that Montvale/PHHS isn't adversely affected by this movie. I loved those days....

 
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Anonymous
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Re: Is Violence & Murder ever the right answer?

July 20 2005, 3:09 PM 

Read Lords of Discipline to get a perspective on the Citadel during that time period, not a pretty place. Society is ugly, and a location that has a murder happen in its borders once 3 decades ago is doing something right, not hiding a dark secret. The movie is being made to make money, that is the nature of a movie. It is like blaming a shark for a shark attack on a beach. Who is this movie going to hurt? What open wounds are out there? I grew up in Montvale and don't remember hearing any more of this than some short answers by the teachers I asked (and only asked out of the morbid curiosity that Doc talked about above). You want to make it? Go ahead, the ticket receipts will tell if it is made right. You want to star in it? Go ahead, get rich. It is an interesting story, why not tell it?

 
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Harry's classmate - never knew him
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your missing the point

July 20 2005, 3:39 PM 

I was from Woodcliff Lake, graduated in 1976 from PHHS, and I didn't know him at all, except that he was someone that Montvale kids constantly put down. So, it seems that those not wanting to see this movie made by 'profitiers' probably feel more guilty than they allow themselves to be comfortable with. I know I feel badly that I wasn't more friendly to him, but hindsight is 20/20. I wish the moviemakers the best of luck, and hope they are true to the time, as well as the story. Knowing a thing or two about a couple of the guys that are making the film, I'm confident they'll get it right.

You know, for all those who think this story shouldn't be told because it won't serve any greater purpose than selling movie tickets, I leave you with this quote from George Santayana. He was a notable philosopher, and he coined this famous phrase:

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

 
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1984 Grad
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Re: your missing the point

July 22 2005, 3:17 PM 

How many students attended PHHS and The Citadel combined? And how many
murdered their families? Should we be blaming the schools for Harry's
actions? Kids are tormented all the time. But you grow up and get over
it. Harry is mentally ill. Plain and simple.

 
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relax 84
(no login)

re: your still missing the point

July 22 2005, 7:20 PM 

hey, stupid, the point is it DID happen to someone that attended both of those institutions. what the hell are you afraid of? is the earth going to open up and swallow the entire town whole, along with everyone that ever lived there, because this story is being told?

how about some people are just curious about it? if this happened 30 years ago in boise idaho, and there was controversy because it was dispensed with quickly and quitely, you'd want to know why. why did this kid kill his parents and brothers?

look, either he became a 'lunatic' that night, in which case the things that led him to the breaking point should be discussed and explained, or he was always a 'lunatic', in which case looking into how a town didn't pick up on any warning signs to prevent this from happening should be discussed and explained.

chill out 84...

 
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D.A.
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Re: re: your still missing the point

July 23 2005, 3:26 AM 

DO you know for SURE that Harry Killed them ALL!

 
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Butkus
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Read, Read , Read the Message Board!

August 12 2005, 11:55 AM 


Check out who has received the most email responses......read the book and then re-assess
it all. He is the most credible resource and if Moncrief and Doscher don't get his input they
have told half the story which will be primarily made up of embellishment and a story told from
a convicted murderers perspective.

For those retired and semi-/retired officers involved they should be ashamed of themselves!

 
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nitschke
(no login)

get who's input, mother goose's?

August 13 2005, 1:14 AM 

In the previous posting, some clown wrote, "He is the most credible resource and if Moncrief and Doscher don't get his input they have told half the story..."

That's just plain idiotic. If memory serves, Gary graduated with me in 1981, which would have made him 13 at the time. Did Captain Hanna put him to sleep with bedtime stories about the night of the murders? Or, before he recently passed away, did his father write a memoir that Gary has in his possession? Did his father make a dying declaration about the case? What truth can they get second-hand from Gary that they can't get from a court transcript.

For one thing, Moncrief and Doscher can't get his input if he doesn't offer it. Second, just because he has the most responses doesn't make him the most credible source for information. If popularity was the end-all beat-all, then Madonna or Michael Jackson should be the freaking president. Third, why would retired and semi-retired officers be ashamed of helping tell the story accurately, especially if they were around then. There job is to make sure that justice is done, and that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth should be told.

Like Seinfeld's bubble boy, the insulation of its own bubble has caused Montvale to become too full of it's own self importance. I can't wait to see the movie, because horror flick or not, most of us know the REAL truth. So go ahead Montvale, keep trying to discredit people, but be careful. These guys might just say "Moops" and pop that bubble, like it needs to be.

P.S. - Hey Bob "Chicken Hawk"ins, were you only the one back in the 70's that didn't try pot? Maybe you should now, so you can loosen up. Or maybe you should just shut up, because your rants are tired. Get a life!

 
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