On April 19, 1989, the slightly-built 28-year-old investment banker was violently assaulted while jogging in New York City's Central Park. She was raped and beaten almost to death. When found about four hours later, she was suffering from severe hypothermia and blood loss from multiple lacerations and internal bleeding, and her skull had been fractured so badly that her left eye was removed from the socket. The initial medical prognosis was that she would die or, at best, remain in a permanent coma due to her injuries. Remarkably, she largely recovered, with some lingering disabilities related to balance and loss of vision. As a result of the severe trauma, she had no memory of the attack or of any events up to an hour preceding the assault.
The crime, one of 3,254 rapes reported in New York City that year, was unique in the level of public outrage it provoked. New York Governor Mario Cuomo told the New York Post, "This is the ultimate shriek of alarm."
According to a police investigation, the culprits were gangs of teenagers who would assault strangers as part of an activity that became known as "wilding." New York City detectives said the word was used by the suspects themselves to describe their actions to police. This account has been disputed by other journalists, who say that it originated in a police detective's misunderstanding of the suspects' use of the phrase "doing the wild thing", lyrics from Tone Lōc's hit song "Wild Thing". April 19 was known to have been a night when such a gang attack occurred, in which the suspects had entered the park in Harlem with over 30 acquaintances. Contrary to normal police procedure, which stipulates that the names of suspects under the age of sixteen are also to be withheld, the names of the juveniles arrested in this case were released to the press before any of them had been formally arraigned or indicted, including one 14-year-old who was ultimately not charged. The mainstream media's double-standard — printing the names, photos, and addresses of the juvenile suspects while shielding Meili — was cited by the editors of the City Sun and the Amsterdam News to explain their continued use of Meili's name in their coverage of the story. While many teenage suspects were identified (or identified themselves) as participants in the Central Park assaults that night — although not necessarily in the attack on Meili — only five, known later as the Central Park Five, were brought to trial.
In 2002, another man's confession, plus DNA evidence confirming his crime, led the district attorney's office to recommend vacating the convictions of the teenagers originally accused and sentenced to prison. In 2002, convicted rapist and murderer Matias Reyes, serving a life sentence for other crimes but not, at that point, associated by the police with the attack on Meili, declared that he had committed the assault, and that he had acted alone. The DNA evidence confirmed his participation in the crime and identified him as the sole contributor of the semen found in and on the victim "to a factor of one in 6,000,000,000 people"
A small school of literature arose in the wake of the initial convictions in the Central Park jogger case, questioning the moral education of minority youth that would lead to "wilding".
The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States, near Denver and Littleton. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and one teacher. They also injured 21 other students directly, and three people were injured while attempting to escape. The pair then committed suicide. It is the fourth-deadliest school massacre in United States history, after the 1927 Bath School disaster, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the 1966 University of Texas massacre, and the deadliest for an American high school.As with the Central Park jogger, this incident spawned a small industry of social and cultural commentary. Newt Gingrich blamed liberal Democrats. There arose a suspicion of difference, particularly over anyone who participated in Goth culture. A host of myths, each and every one proved false, followed the retelling of the story of Columbine.
The massacre provoked debate regarding gun control laws, the availability of firearms in the United States, and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centered on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures, and bullying, as well as the role of violent movies and video games in American society. The shooting also resulted in an increased emphasis on school security, and a moral panic aimed at goth culture, social outcasts, the gun culture, the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressants by teenagers, violent films and music, teenage internet use, and violent video games.
Jim Crow was not just a set of laws. It was an entire social and cultural system, enforced by extra-judicial murder, events that took on a form of social and cultural liturgy, reinforcing roles and status. Unlike contemporary executions, done quietly, in secret, these were community events. This photo was turned in to a postcard.
The following are two stories that appear in today's Chicago Tribune, so routine they do not even merit major comment.
Benjamin West was standing in a public housing play lot in University Village when two teenage boys approached, asking him for a lighter.Similar stories, from the Los Angeles Times:
Moments later, West, 59, lay naked and dying, with his clothes heaped atop him in the cold after the teens robbed him and beat him, Cook County prosecutors said Saturday. West was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital less than an hour after the Tuesday-morning attack.
Chicago police said a dispute over the 99-cent lighter erupted into a fight. The teens — cousins Sharee Musgray, 15, and Angelo Cobbins, 17 — were both charged as adults with first-degree murder and robbery.
A 15-year-old boy who was shooting at several other teens on the street was shot to death Friday afternoon by an off-duty Aurora police officer trying to intervene in the fight, a police spokesman said.
The teen, who has not been identified, refused to drop his revolver after the officer told him to do so and then aimed the gun at the 11-year-veteran who fatally shot the teen, Aurora Police Spokesman Dan Ferrelli said in a press release today.
The teen, whose name has not been released but who is from Aurora, was declared dead about 5:25 p.m. at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, about two hours after the shooting, according to the release.
A 26-year-old man was fatally shot Saturday at his home in the Central-Alameda neighborhood of South Los Angeles, authorities said.According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Statistics Report, Preliminary Findings for the first six months of last year, there were 21 murders in the city of Tucson, AZ during that time period, roughly three-and-a-half per month. So, yesterday was an unusual day, but hardly unique.
Eleodoro Gaspar-Tlatelpa was in his living room about 10 p.m. when he was struck by multiple shots fired through his window, according to Los Angeles Police Lt. Samuel Rhone and a coroner’s investigator.
The suspect fled, and police said at this point they had no leads. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Redlands police have redeployed two-thirds of their 74-officer staff in the wake of a shooting Wednesday night in which a suspected Latino gang member fatally shot two black youths and wounded two others, an incident that the mother of one victim believes was racially motivated.
Former Chicago police officer Jon Burge presided over a reign of terror on the South Side of the city, from 1972-1991, when he is alleged to have tortured as many as 200 criminal defendants. Burge, white, serving in the majority-black south side, was found not-guilty several times, although he was fired by the police department in 1991, and a series of civil suits followed. He was eventually convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges, leveled by federal prosecutors in regard to testimony in the series of suits the City of Chicago had to settle.
I could go on, but I think I'll stop for now. When blacks are lynched to enforce white supremacy, it's a party. When blacks for a political party in the city of Oakland that includes wearing army fatigues, and carrying perfectly legal sidearms, much of the nation quivers in fear. One of the people who inspired the Black Panthers, H. Rap Brown, was denounced when he quipped that "violence is as American as cherry pie." Yet, it is Brown, not his critics who are correct. All the hand-wringing over the mass shooting yesterday is a cheap escape from the reality that our history is a river of blood in which we swim.