Dear Perugia

This’ll be brief, since we don’t actually know each other at all. But I’ve noted with some interest  your effort to sever the sister city relationship you have with my town, Seattle, because Amanda Knox refuses to return to Italy for her retrial.

Now I respect your right to use your time as you like. And if you want to stay up burning lean tissue over whether Seattle and Perugia should maintain their sister city status, I wouldn’t dream of stopping you. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if our respective burgs remain sister cities or not. Still, since your reason for dropping us is Amanda Knox related and since blaming people for problems they’re not responsible for is one of your bad habits, I just want to point something out before you sign whatever proclamation you feel like signing.

Amanda Knox’s travel arrangements are not something that we, the citizens of Seattle, have any say over. She’s committed no crime here (she’s committed no crime there either, but we’ll leave that for now), so even if we had the inclination, we have no power to tell her what to do or where to go. Staying here or attending the trial is a decision for her, her family, and her legal team. They’re not obliged to consult us.

The anger over there still runs hot, Perugia, and I understand. But I think you’re misdirecting it. Your chief prosecutor botched the Kercher investigation. If you want to get mad, get mad at him. He made such a pig’s breakfast of the case that two people who did nothing wrong are stuck in an endless legal quagmire while the actual murderer, whose sentence was shortened because of your prosecutor’s blinkered insistence on conspiracy theories, will be walking your streets again in a little over a year. Now in Italy maybe it’s harder to fire a prosecutor than it is to revoke sister city status, but terminating him would be a more productive use of your sense of injustice.

But if you insist on blaming the wrong people for your problems, Perugia, it’s probably best for us if we dissolve our relationship. We have twenty other sister cities, and I’m sure we’ll find another twenty-first if you bail on us. I’m more concerned for you, because if you act this way with your other sisters, you may one day find yourselves with nothing but your paranoia to keep you company.

Your Pal,



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