DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Murder of Annie Le

By Guest Contributor Jen, originally published at Disgrasian

There are things I can’t stop thinking about in the murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le.


Like the fact that she was 4’11″ and 90 lbs, which seems oh-so-small.

And that she was killed in the middle of the day.

The fact everyone now knows and finds particularly cruel: that she was found murdered, stuffed in a wall, on the day she was to be married.

That Annie’s fiance’s name is Widawsky, calling to mind widows and widowers, people left behind by death.

That there’s a theory floating around she may have been killed over mice.

This phenomenon called “workplace violence.” Or that it’s the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the U.S.

The single bead of the necklace she was wearing that was found in the lab area where she was last seen alive. A bead that must have broken off her necklace when she was strangled. Was it precious? Was it cheap? Was it from a necklace you could buy at a jewelry store, at a street fair, on a beach?

A video taken of her sitting at a desk in front of a computer, her glasses on, a bottle of water open, where she waves a little stuffed penguin to the camera, all of it so mundane and normal.

This week, Slate‘s media critic Jack Shafer wrote in a piece called “Murder Draped in Ivy” that people have taken a particular, “prurient” interest in Annie Le’s murder because it occurred at Yale:

If you plan to be murdered and expect decent press coverage, please have the good sense to be a Harvard or Yale student or professor….

Members of the elite press identify with Harvard and Yale—even if they didn’t go there. They may work for someone who went, or wish they’d gone, or hope their children go.

I’m not a member of the elite press, but I can say I identify with Annie Le. And it’s not because I went to Yale, and my freshman year, a fellow student was murdered–shot and killed–about a stone throw’s from my Common Room window. It’s because Annie Le seemed like someone I know, someone I’m friends with, someone I might have competed against in high school, someone like me, a girl–and not a body, a height measurement, an anecdote about cruel timing, a bead from a necklace, a statistic–who was simply living her life before someone stamped it out of her for no good reason.