ITHACA- When people found out that Charles Tan had turned himself in for allegedly shooting his father, one of his close friends from home and high school, Anna Valentine, sprung immediately into action.
Through her efforts, she created the “Charlie Tan Support Fund”, and within a couple of weeks it had raised over $47,000 for Charles’s legal defense. Valentine had originally set a goal of $50,000 but has raised the goal to $75,000 for Tan’s defense.
On the website, the reactions to Tan’s arrest are extremely personal; the website is filled with comments of reassurance, belief, and support from the Pittsford community.
“You are an amazing person who does not deserve any of this.” Commented Matt Tanchick, a former high school classmate of Tan. “Jail is a place to prevent a bad person from hurting good people. Not to trap a great kid behind bars after protecting himself and mother.”
Even strangers who have never met him are donating up to $200. An anonymous woman donated and commented, “Hi Charlie, I don’t know you, but I am a mother of 2 kids your age… Just want you to know that our prayer is with you and your family. Stay strong.”
Reactions of Charles Tan Have Differing Dynamics
The law enforcement believes that Charles shot his father in the presence of his mother. Ling was victimizing Charles and his mother, so Charles shot him in self-defense and then walked into his driveway and waited for the police to arrive and arrest him.
The types of controversy about this issue have a comparative difference between his hometown, Pittsford, NY, and his college, Cornell University. There was a minimal amount of personal reaction from Cornell students and faculty; Cornell University professor Melissa Mae Osgood spoke on behalf of Cornell University saying, “Cornell (including faculty) does not comment on ongoing investigations.”
Cornell student’s awareness of the issue is also at an extremely low level; when walking around the campus and asking if they knew about Charles Tan, many students expressed that it was their first time hearing about the situation. Cornell freshman Elizabeth Wahid says, “I personally haven’t seen any change [in the atmosphere of Cornell] or heard people talk about it, I don’t know anyone who knew him and I guess a lot of people don’t keep up with the news a lot.”
Evan Popp, a freshman of Ithaca College, said, “You don’t hear about this sort of thing often. I mean Ithaca’s a city, but it’s not that big of a city so it’s really weird to hear about this. It’s not a crime you hear about in general- a son shooting his own father.”
Controversy of Money Fundraised for Tan
Although Pittsford is enthusiastic with contributions for the Support Charlie Tan Fund, reactions from people in Ithaca are a little more skeptical since Ithacans are just looking at the facts of the scenario.
“All the money they [Pittsford] raised- I feel like they shouldn’t have donated it to him.” Says Wahid. “Rather to a program that prevents domestic violence or helps families in those situations. $50,000 could have made a bigger impact for a wider span of people.”
The reactions overall from both Pittsford and Ithaca have died down, but it is expected that speculation will arise again when Tan’s trial takes place shortly.
Written by Angela Kim