Down These Mean Equestrian Trails

Middle-aged rage kills more kids than student gunners

Also to keep the fear pot simmering, a recent Times Metro banner story fretted that the percentage of gang murders that claimed innocent bystanders rose from 59 percent in 1996 to 70 percent in 1998. A "Troubling Statistic," the headline read. However, the statistics themselves (which the story didn't cite) yielded a different interpretation. In 1993, three dozen bystanders were killed in gang murders. That toll fell to 25 in 1996 and 22 in 1998. Suggested media-stylebook revision: a subject denoting a smaller quantity of something bad (i.e., bullet-perforated innocent-bystander corpses) does not usually take a negative modifier (e.g., "troubling").

Here's the shocking local twist on the media's Colorado-carnage coverage and North/South County gang inflammations: Orange County's white middle-agers murder more people-waste more kids, in fact-every couple of months than have been killed in the county's 500,000-student public-school system ever (zero, in anyone's memory). And no politician, expert, or reporter gives a rat shit. Troubling isn't the word for it.

Mike Males is a UCI sociology instructor and author ofFraming Youth: Ten Myths About the Next Generation.

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