I have written about crime and courts for more years than I care to admit at this point, and during that time, one thing has remained the same. No matter the time of year, the socio-economic status, the color of skin or the age, crime does not discriminate. It’s a great equalizer and can affect anyone.
One of the best things about the job I do is that I get to tell people what’s happening in their community, and that includes crime. As awful as it is, we want to know where the most dangerous communities are, where we should and should not shop after dark, and there’s a voyeuristic part of all of us that thrives on the details.
It’s the reality TV culture — I get it. It’s the same thing that we have inside of us that makes us crane our necks on the highway to see a wreck. And, because I’m crafty, I can tell which stories people read the most. I’ll give you three guesses.
You’ve got it; it’s crime, crime and more crime. People just can’t seem to look away from it.
That being said, you don’t get to pick and choose your crime. You don’t get to pick and choose who is charged with a crime.
When I came into the office a week ago Friday, the only thing people were talking about was an incident at Force Fitness in Social Circle; about how someone went after someone else, and windows were broken.
When there’s that much public interest, you are almost forced to write about it. And you guys read it.
In one day, more than 400 people read that story. They read it from their computers; they read it from their phones; and they clicked on the Facebook link to take them to the story. And they commented.
I love comments. I love when our readers interact on Facebook, when they question reasons behind things. And I don’t mind when they blast me. I’m used to it by now, and I’m a pretty tough cookie.
But I did actually get a little aggravated with people saying that it wasn’t a story because he was a nice guy and the man he went after got what he deserved.
Plenty of people we write about are probably nice folks who got caught up in the moment. That doesn’t make their actions any more legal or any less newsworthy.
You don’t get to pick and choose your crime. You want to hear about the murders, the molestations, the robberies and the rapes? Then you get to hear about the nice guys who snap and do things they shouldn’t sometimes.
Look, I don’t know these people. I’m sure they’re good people who do what they’re supposed to and love God, their country and their mamas, but that doesn’t mean I — or any other media outlet — should turn a blind eye to something that was obviously of interest to the public.
Crime doesn’t discriminate, and neither do I. You want to stay out of the paper? Then act right.
Amber Pittman is the webmaster and crime reporter for The News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org