The man who was murdered on Beijing’s Drum Tower is Todd Bachman, the CEO of a 123-year-old Minnesota-based home and garden center. That might not make much of an impression if you didn’t grow up in the Twin Cities. But if you did, then it was hard to get through a year without the company being a part of your life. It isn’t just a matter of commerce – the Bachman family is one of the leading lights in Twin Cities philanthropy, and there are few corners of Minnesota that haven’t been touched by their generosity. I’ve never dealt directly with Todd or Barbara, but I have friends who have done so, and they’ve never had anything but the highest praise. The Bachmans are good, kind people, and this explains the genuine shock and grief felt by the residents of their home state.
There are a number of Minnesota-based reporters in Beijing right now, and they’re covering the story on a personal level that you won’t find in the international media (much less, Xinhua). They include:
- Jay Weiner’s very personal story at MinnPost.
- KARE 11’s Eric Perkins filed this story (note: streaming video). For those of us who have watched Perkins in the past, his manner in this report is notably subdued. KARE 11 is an NBC affiliate.
- The StarTribune’s story, which seems to be updating over the course of the night and day.
- Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan’s column on the murder.
A couple of additional links that might provide some insight into Todd Bachman:
- A 2006 Todd Bachman interview with the Star Tribune regarding the (then) 121-year-old Bachman’s chain.
- A 2001 GreenBeam interview of Todd and Barbara on the ocassion of their endowing a chair at the University of Minnesota.
- Bachman’s has set up a special web page with constantly updating info on Barbara Bachman’s condition, as well as information on Todd Bachman.
My condolences to the Bachman family.