The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Not The Victims, The Assailants 

Once again, Eugene Kane of the Journal Sentinel gets it wrong again. Milwaukee's homicide rate is up significantly from last year, a story which has been on the front page of that paper a lot lately. In fact every time another homicide occurs, the number is flashed as a headline. That's the main focus of Kane's column:

Number 88 and counting.

Don't worry about missing the latest murder update. Frankly, at this point it's a numbers game.

There have been 88 murders so far this year in Milwaukee. Eighty-eight is 32 more than the number of deaths by violence by this time last year, which was 56.
...
But I can't rightfully criticize Milwaukee media - this newspaper, most radio and TV stations - for the current box score of murders.

This many murders in Milwaukee is a big story. People care about it; and if they care, they need all the information they can get.

Actually I agree. I don't think talking about how many have been killed is a bad thing. Murder is heinous, and deserves to be spotlighted. Maybe by showing the tragedy, the destroyed families and friends, people will think twice before killing. Maybe. But he goes on:

Some use the murder numbers for their own purposes to continue their predictable rants about the personal responsibility of low-income residents in high-crime areas to solve the violence problem all by themselves, essentially blaming the victims for their own predicament.

Several readers also have noted that when former Police Chief Art Jones was in charge, there seemed to be lots more folks holding the police accountable for the murder rate than under current chief Nannette Hegerty.

(I've noticed that, too.)

And here's where he goes so very wrong. Look at all the people he mentions in that list of people who could or are blamed. The residents (aka victims) in high crime areas, and the Police. Of course the whole article is seemingly defending the media for spotlighting the amount of murders as if the media is being blamed. Who is missing here?

Why aren't you talking about the perpetrators of these awful crimes Eugene? I think this is where the media truly goes wrong. Every time a murder happens, they bump up the count and show the victims of these terrible crimes. They should... their story deserves to be told. But where are the pictures of the killers being hauled off to jail on the front page. Where is the headline reading "Murderer Caught!"? Why are those stories always buried somewhere in the back of the Metro section? The blame seems to be landing everywhere except where it belongs. Spotlight that Eugene. Don't blame the victims, or the police, or the guns. Blame the person who did the killing. They actually deserve it.

Comments:

Well said, Nick.

  Posted at August 25, 2005 9:40 PM by Blogger Dean  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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