Here's a point from a reader about a headline on a wire item in yesterday's paper that read "Family massacred."

Really, would that have been the headline had it not been a Native American family? Perpetuating stereotypes? I don't recall other family tragedies being referred to as "massacres". Perhaps that is only used when "the Injuns" are involved.

I checked The Star's past stories in the electronic library and found that word has been used for a wide range of stories about killings. However, who am I or anyone else to question this particular reader's take?

I often say that subjectivity is the essence in these types of points, and that's the key to a huge percentage of the instances where readers perceive bias. Often when I relay the concerns to the journalists who wrote the words, they understand -- but sometimes they are genuinely perplexed. Nobody can get inside another's head, of course, and I think this is an instance where the headline writer chose a word that didn't cause any association to Native Americans to spring to my mind. That still doesn't mean my emailer's point is invalid.