The "tragic story makes this a bad example to use," he wrote. "But what do you think of the use of the word 'ornery' in this article?"
The story describes one of the children's personalities, saying "Jasper, true to his ornery nature, had been throwing M"
The Star refers to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which defines "ornery" as"easily annoyed or angered" or "difficult to deal with or control."
That seems at odds with the description of the child.
But here, I'd also say it's at odds with my own experience. "Ornery" is a term I heard often while growing up in the Midwest, and it was virtually always a term of endearment. In my world, at least, it was an especially affectionate synonym for "mischievous," used exclusively to describe benign behavior. It's much more akin to "naughty" than "difficult" to me.
I wonder if I'm alone here, but I didn't read this story as intending to use the term as a pejorative.