Another special day in the D yesterday: A pissed-off young man enters a church looking for his estranged girlfriend, finds her mother and shoots her dead. During services.
Even in Detroit, this pretty much tops the Heinousness scale. It also resonated with something I read recently in the New York Times, linked here without the registration and so on; it’s about how more homicides today are sparked by petty disagreements. To wit:
Suspects tell police they killed someone who “disrespected” them or a family member, or someone who was “mean-mugging” them, which police loosely translate as giving a dirty look. And more weapons are on the streets, giving people a way to act on their anger.
Police Chief Nannette H. Hegerty of Milwaukee calls it “the rage thing.”
That sounds about right. While we await the chin-scratchings of local editorial writers and columnists, I was also struck by this comment, by Ron Scott on the DetNews blog:
What I found even more chilling was an interview with the young woman who had witnessed the assault. She made reference to the type of weapon used by the assailant with stark specificity. She called it a “gauge,�? short for a 12-gauge shotgun. How would she know this? Why would she know this? The familiarity with this kind of nomenclature reflects one who has been nurtured in a warlike environment.
OK, let’s move on to juvenile deliquency of a somewhat less-lethal nature (although if I were this kid’s parent, it would come close): At the DIA on Friday, a mischievous 12-year-old boy visiting the museum with a school group took a piece of barely chewed Wrigley’s Extra Polar Ice out of his mouth and stuck it on Helen Frankenthaler’s 1963 abstract painting “The Bay,” damaging one of the most important modern paintings in the museum’s collection and a landmark picture in the artist’s output.
But lo, the museum did not overreact:
Though museum officials were upset, they didn’t yell at the student or discipline him. At first, Hart tried to explain to him the museum’s role in preserving cultural and visual history. “I knew that probably wouldn’t make any sense to him, so I asked him what kind of music he liked,” said Hart. “He said he liked rap, so I said, ‘Well, you know what rock ‘n’ roll is,’ and he did, so I said, ‘Can you imagine if somebody had messed up the beat in rock and roll so you didn’t have any rhythm in rap.’ And he looked at me, and he got it immediately.”
This kid must be smarter than I am, because that example made no sense to me at all. I think I would have gone for the “See my boot? Imagine how you’re going to feel in about six seconds when I plant it two feet up your fundament, kiddo” explanation. The museum says he’s been duly punished. Ohhh-kay.