Monday, July 28, 2008

Violence: An Update

Following up on this post from last week. First off, I want to stress two points. The first is that this incident really brought out all the gun-toting Drama Queens around this town. Y'know, the guys who were not only eager to tell the world exactly which weapons they would have used in what ways in this situation, but also the exact pithy things they would have said as they gunned down the villains.

That is one of my favorite moments in Fargo: the way the father-in-law rehearses the exact way he's going to say, "Here's your damn money, now give me back my daughter!" as he drives to meet the kidnappers. It is so true to life. And yet so pathetic.

In real life, I don't have a lot of patience with Drama Queens.

The second is one I stressed in the original post. We did not know the race of the victim. Most of the overheated rhetoric associated with this story was based on the assumption that the victim and his daughter were white, that this was a black gang on innocent white family crime, and it really brought out the "round 'em up and ship 'em back to Africa" crowd. I actually saw that comment posted, more than once, and I didn't think this needed to be said in the 21st century, but apparently it does. I have zero patience with that $#!+ and will not tolerate it.

That is what really pushed me over the edge to write that original post.

Towards the end of the commentary on the original post, DaveD wrote, "The question now becomes: Bruce, what would YOU do? Fair's fair." I've been working on the answer to that question for a few days. Somehow it seems to have become a long article about violence, bravery, heroism, and how I split my best friend's head open and put him in the hospital when I was 12. The answer seems to be evolving into a series that I'll probably start posting this week once I get a firm fix on my thesis.

But in the meantime, there has been a development in the original case that sparked all this commentary. The D.A.'s office, which initially refused to identify the victims in order to protect the witnesses from retaliation, has since decided that one key piece of information does need to be released and widely disseminated. The man who was beaten and put into a coma, and his 12-year-old daughter who was sexually assaulted, are black.

Oh. Suddenly there is a deafening silence on talk radio and in the blogosphere. It was just more black-on-black crime. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to see here. Not our people. No reason to get involved. No need to care.

For some reason, I find this both disturbing and depressing.