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Riding the Cheshire Fear

When there’s a big news story, it’s always followed by reports of similar instances. Maybe some of this is an effect of heightened awareness, but I’m too cynical to believe that’s all what it is. Let’s throw some lack of imagination and knowing what sells papers in for good measure.

I know enough people who’ve had their homes invaded, sometimes when they’ve actually been in the home at the time. Not one got their incident covered in the media. Since the Cheshire crime, these reports are all over the place. What’s more, when an incident is thought to not be a burglary after all, those details are just ignored.

Yesterday, several news media sources began reporting on an incident in South Green (yes, near me) in which a man who was defending his home against a burglar, shot the criminal dead, and in the stress of it all, had a heart attack. Later in the day, WFSB reported that the deceased victim’s family admitted that the two men knew each other and were arguing earlier in the day. And basically, it sounds like a grudge was held, and someone wanted to settle the score that night. The Courant doesn’t report any of this in today’s edition, choosing instead to stick with the story that the gunshot victim was an intruder. I’m not sure this impacted the Courant‘s decision at all, but the man who shot the alleged intruder, he used to be a reporter for the Hartford Courant. WTNH is more careful with their use of language, calling the shot man a possible intruder, and then revealing that it was thought not to be a burglarly attempt or even intruder situation.

Sloppy reporting does a disservice to the public. Not too many people read entire articles word-for-word, updates on stories, or the page where corrections are made. It’s not going to be possible to get a story 100% correct the first time, all of the time. But geez, just admit when you’ve made a possible mistake. Only printing the police report or choosing to ignore witness reports counts as a journalistic mistake.

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Hartford Bike Tour

Occasionally, I have to indulge my inner-bad girl and do things that a really adventurous for me–emphasis on for me. I’m aware that by most people’s standards I’m cautious. Moments like this have got me to buy plane tickets to Alaska when I’d been terrified of air travel and never flown, and basically taken solo trips elsewhere to other places that seem “scary.” For me, risk is trying something that my parents had not exposed me to. There’s a lot in that category– Tai Chi, yoga, kayaking, eating artichokes. Continue reading “Hartford Bike Tour”

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Outside – Part II

It’s raining. There are fresh pesticides sprayed on the neighboring lawn. The questionable technique of painting the porch across the street turned out to be alright after all. The black cat that’s been hanging out on the sidewalk in front of my house lately must have found cover somewhere from this rain.

Last night, past midnight, I was woken by the sounds of a woman screaming. Being still half asleep, I couldn’t tell what was going on, but the cops showed up minutes later. I don’t know how many calls were made to the police about this. There was at least one. Kevin has his account of incident at Undercurrents.

As a woman, I couldn’t think of a single situation–other than in a theatrical production– where I would allow four men to make me immobile. In my life, I’ve tended to have more male than female friends, and currently I have several male friends who I deeply trust. But there is something so wrong about doing that kind of thing to a female, even if it is just a joke. I tend to think it wasn’t “just fooling around.” When so many women are violently assaulted by rape, kidnapping, and physical abuse, something like taping a female’s arm, legs, and planning to tape her mouth is not remotely funny.

If they were not intending to seriously harm her, then I can’t imagine what kind of idiots they are. How can you not know of the many ways that women are abused in this culture, and still do something to a woman that is so disturbing? How can you not know that this sort of thing can trigger all kinds of awful memories for a woman who might have been raped or assaulted in the past? Ask a rape or abuse survivor what it’s like to have parts of their bodies held down. Ask them what it’s like to be forced to relive that kind of trauma.

And this makes me think about what if one of my fears happened. What if I were jumped in the back lot at night (or in the day, whatever). My fear is that, yes, but more so, what if I’m back there screaming my head off and nobody cares to do anything about it.

So, if these guys were embarrassed/inconvenienced/angered because their prank meant having to deal with police or possibly a night in jail, so be it. This kind of shit is not a joke for most of us.

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Check Your Email!

Eight days after the press release was sent out, the Courant finally gets around to reporting the WFP candidates running for city council.

This is why people say that print is dead. . .only most newspapers have an online presence in addition to hard copy, and they still manage to drop the ball.

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Media Bias: Here and There

THERE

Ask most people to name the candidates who are running as Democrats for President, and the answer would usually be limited to Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. If the person is from Connecticut, then they’ll mention Dodd. Fewer seem to know about Kucinich (even if this is not his first bid for the White House), Gravel (not pronounced like what you’d put in your driveway), Richardson, Biden, or that even more Democrats than that have announced their campaigns. There are more Republicans than Giuliani to contend with for the spot, and an even longer list of third party candidates. Continue reading “Media Bias: Here and There”

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On the Bandwagon

The Courant reports that Elizabeth Horton Sheff will not run for re-election on Hartford’s City Council.  Horton Sheff spoke to the paper about her frustration with other council members who have failed to be critical of the mayor.

“I tried to get the council to better examine the kinds of things that Eddie put before us, but they just passed stuff,” she added. “Some of it I may have agreed with, lots of it I didn’t. But I was trying to get across to my council colleagues that we needed to look at this stuff, and really do our due diligence, and not just approve everything.”

Luis Cotto, running for City Council under the Working Families Party, would be a nice replacement for Horton Sheff.  Get a few Republicans in there who aren’t beholden to Perez, and maybe we’ll see some progress.

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WFP Shaking it Up

The Working Families Party is not exactly new. Several years ago my SO ran as a WFP candidate. As Democrats–especially on the national level–are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from Republicans, third parties with the willingness to take an unwavering stance on the issues are becoming more relevant, viable alternatives.

Yesterday, three WFP candidates for Hartford City Council entered the race–Luis Cotto of La Paloma Sabanera, pediatrician and PTO member Dr. Larry Deutsch, and community activist Urania Petit.

Connecticut Working Families is most concerned with the issues of affordable housing, access to health care, and fair wages. They are on the record as supporting Senate Bill 601, “which would guarantee working people in the state a modest amount of paid sick time.” Recently, the WFP held a rally at the New Britain Wal-Mart to protest their discriminatory practices against Spanish-speaking workers.

If any of these three candidates get elected, it will challenge the City Council to do more than act as “rubber stamps,” which it has been accused of being in recent months.

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Outside

Observances from my front porch, windows, and back yard in this past week:

1. People across the street fixing up the columns on the front of the house. I don’t know much about construction, but I’m questioning their technique. At any rate, it’s nice to hear 90’s Alternative Rock blasting in the neighborhood.

2. There is a cat in the neighborhood that is the doppleganger of our cat. She’s got the same coloring, but is feral and has a bushier tail. Last night I saw her emerge from the dumpster at 3:20a.m.

3. Neighborhood kids screeching about something they found in the grass that was terrifying. Could be a snake, frog, or some large insect. Maybe a worm.

4. Sparrows visiting my birdfeeders.

5. The garden. I am slowly reclaiming the yard from grass, planting anything with substantial roots and color. The garage is now lined with Silver Mound. Yesterday, I added a pink rose bush to the front of the house. Anyone want to bet how long it takes for me to kill it?

6. Another random cat, this one black and white, sunning herself by the tomato plants. I think she was panting. It looked like her tongue was hanging out of her mouth.

7. A pile of weeds decaying in the back. This area is where the compost machine used to be before it was moved into the basement.

Contrast this scene to all these “news stories” I’ve heard of in the past week or so:

1. Elderly man robbed around midnight a few streets over.

2. A recently paroled man shot in the chest and killed, one street away.

3. A woman tied up and robbed in her home, one street over from where the guy was killed. This happened on a Sunday afternoon.

4. An armed robbery in the building next door, a few weeks ago.

5. Several knifepoint robberies down on Franklin Ave., including the robbery of Art Feltman.

So, what is it about this working class, residential area that makes it less deserving of public sympathy?

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Everything is Politics

While I don’t agree with what Healy expresses in his post, I’m not finding anything wrong with it either. Speculating on where the legislative session will go is not much different from publicly declaring one’s support for the death penalty in response to the murders in Cheshire. In a kinder world, the family would be given time to mourn– the media wouldn’t print lurid details about the case that the public simply does not need to know. (Gratuitously divulging such information actually creates problems for the justice system, as we’re seeing in the Shefelbine case right now). In a perfect world, the family would not have been given reason to mourn.

But to pretend like politics isn’t remotely involved in crime is to boldly ignore the nature of violence. It’s not something created in a vacuum.

Fortunately, some people are speaking out about this.  Too bad the mainstream media ignores this.