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October 2012


Last week was a new low for the mommybloggers. There was a tragedy in New York where two children were murdered, the details really don’t matter that much because it could have been any tragedy on any given week. It just needed to be a tragedy of a certain sort. The victim needed to be a rich white family.

Babies die, children are murdered, there are wars happening right now and oh, by the way if you live in a poor part of Los Angeles like Compton there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been affected by violent crime in the last six months.

Compton is twenty miles from my home, in the past six months 16 of it’s residents were murdered. I don’t see bloggers wringing their hands and worrying about their futures when ghetto kids die. I’m not sure who those 16 people were but it’s safe to assume that the majority of them are young black men. That’s who usually dies in Compton.

This morning there’s some coverage of a Halloween party shootout. Complete with a crime map that should make your skin crawl. The red dots represent homicides.

I don’t think a whole lot of bloggers live in these neighborhoods. In fact, in the absence of a broken navigation system I’m pretty sure bloggers wouldn’t drive through these neighborhoods. There are lovely people who live there, and there are children being raised in all areas of Los Angeles so surely there are stories to be told.

When one of these red dots is reported on the news (or more likely as part of a police blotter) I don’t see bloggers writing stories about how they need to love their kids more, keep them safe, talk about the dangers of [fill in the blank with something innocuous]. Instead we focus on a family of privilege facing tragedy because we wrongly believe that they are more like us. We somehow see these oddball slayings, these incomprehensibly tragic slayings as being more likely to affect us than the violence that poverty and a lack of education cultivate like a virus escaping petrie dish.

It’s a vile practice bloggers have taken to. I suppose we emulate the newscasts we see and hope for great search results or some misery page views. It’s easy to talk about the fear of bad things happening to upper class kids because OhMyGawdTheWorldIsDangerous.

Well, the fact of the matter is that crime is dropping in the US every year. I know it’s easier to sell fear than hope. Many folks think a little tragiblogging will build their page views, and it will… it’s a formula we all understand to be true. The problem is that when bloggers get busy tragiblogging someone else’s story that puts them in a parasitic role where they have to continue to find other people’s tragedies and make them their own. There is an audience for this to be sure. The other problem is that you have to keep upping the ante and that means waiting for more white babies to disappear or die. Or you can do some charity traveling, because when black kids need help in other countries we get compassionate quickly.

Twenty miles from my front door are dozens of red dots. Those mothers cried too.