[ExI] [wta-talk] LA Times: Unlimited space for untold sorrow

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Feb 6 14:15:53 UTC 2008

PJ writes

> My point was not at all about risk assessment.  We know human
> generally stink at it and neurologically, they can't help but stink.
> My point was about coming to grips with the realities of our
> communities: how they succeed, how they fail and gaining the empathy
> to, at a minimum, appreciate the victims' reality, or if possible, do
> something about it.  And you can only do that with accurate
> information.  The point of The Homicide Report is to provide missing
> information -- who are ALL the people murdered daily in LA County --
> and the stories behind their deaths.

Information is good, and in an important sense, we find it
difficult to understand reality from mere statistics. Criminals
convicted of capital crimes should be forced to watch
re-enactments of the funerals they caused, with proper
depictions of the sufferings of family members, for instance.
The reality and horror of tragedy really is in the details and
in the particulars.

I'm still a little confused about the focus, here, though.  You
help by writing "[This is about] coming to grips with the realities
of our communities: how they succeed, how they fail...".
But first, those are probably not *your* communities. They
certainly aren't mine (the part of town I live in is middle middle
class, and is very peaceful).  Second, those communities contain
many many thousands of people, and the deaths of a few hundred
are indeed demographically and economically insignificant. In
other words, do (the rest of) the people living there believe that
their communities are sinking?   I don't think that they are
sinking in any real historical, demographic, or economic sense.

What if instead the reporter and you had chosen to focus on 
families impacted by heart disease and stroke?  We might have
even more funerals, and even more tears. Or traffic accidents.
So there has to be some notion here of those things I just
mentioned being not avoidable, while in some way the "senseless"
killings *are* avoidable. But perhaps they really aren't so
avoidable, without draconian measures very few want.


> In fact, if we based risk assessment on American media exposure in
> general, you'd think the only people at risk were young, blonde women,
> preferably those who made some error of judgement and died as a
> consequence.  According to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc., they seem to be
> the only people who suffer from senseless deaths.  And there's a
> reason for that... but I hope I don't have to explain that to you,
> too.

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