By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
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.