The Slaughter of Innocents: How many so far?

What more do we need to say about the 17-year-old girl randomly shot down in her sixth month of pregnancy Tuesday?

Or about the middle-aged Mexican immigrant working in a butcher shop who was killed by bullets aimed at someone in front of his store.

Or the young newlywed, a dedicated worker with troubled youths, who was killed visiting in-laws late one night recently in Chatham.

We can report that they and others were innocents killed by sprawling gunfire in Chicago. How many have there been this year so far? I don’t know. Do you? That is one story to be told.

And while you are telling this story, don’t forget to check the stats so you can give some context to the crimes you are reporting on. Crime is not ubiquitous. It doesn’t fall from the sky.

For example there have been 16 homicides in Englewood so far this year as compared to 11 for the same time period last year. And Englewood, according to Tracy Swartz of Red Eye, who compiled these figures, is one of few community areas that has seen its homicide numbers rise this year compared to last. Homicides were down about 16.5 percent citywide the first of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010, she writes.

When we report crime without offering the context we both pump up stereotypes and nurture despair as well. This is one of the points raised at our recent workshop on covering crime. What do we need to do? We said:

We need to put these stories into context.

We need to go back to talk about the impact on lives touched.

And we shouldn’t avoid the chance to talk to those work

by really boring

against the tide of mayhem.

Here, for example, is an interview from blogger Marcie Hill, who is also a contributor to our We Are Not Alone/No Estamos Solos campaign, with one of the women who leads the Deborah Project and who, quite tragically, has grown tired of the rain of funerals. Listen here., 312 369 7782

What else? Que mas?




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