Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Sob-sistering toward Gomorrah


I hate sob sisters. Sob sisters will lead you straight to hell -- but only after a rest stop in Gomorrah.

I hate uncritical reporting. I hate it when sob-sister reporters jerk the tears so hard that they forget to ask a few fundamental questions that, oh . . . everybody would like answered as they watch the values-neutral, fact-agnostic schlock that passes for news today.

Local television is the worst. It just is. Local TV reporters will rot your capacity for critical thinking. And then they'll send you to hell. As a moron.

Channel 7 in Omaha devoted all kinds of time Tuesday to a woman who just couldn't see why the cops had to shoot her fiancé to death when all he was doing was threatening officers with a couple of weapons -- one of them a shotgun he aimed at them while using his 3-year-old son as a human shield. Here's a less tear-soaked account from today's Omaha World-Herald:
Tyree Bell
An Omaha man was mentally ill and suicidal when he pointed two guns at police from his front porch, prompting four officers to open fire in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Wednesday that one of the man's guns turned out to be a pellet gun; the other was unloaded. But police couldn't determine that until Tyree Bell, 31, had been killed in the Police Department's second officer-involved shooting in five weeks.

“We still have to treat that weapon as being loaded,” Schmaderer said.

The standoff at 3727 N. 42nd St. began at 4:11 a.m. Tuesday with Bell holed up in the house with his girlfriend and twin 3-year-olds. The children's mother escaped as officers arrived to investigate a domestic disturbance involving an armed person. Bell later let his daughter run to the safety of officers who surrounded the house.

After nearly two hours of negotiating, an armed Bell emerged from the house – his son in his arms to serve as a human shield.

Officers “were in peril, as they could take no action for fear of harming the 3-year-old,” Schmaderer said.

It was about 6:20 a.m. Bell had become more agitated, Schmaderer said.

He returned to the house, put his son down and reappeared on the front porch, pointing both guns at police, the chief recounted. That's when the officers fired “numerous” times at Bell, Schmaderer said.

Bell died of multiple gunshot wounds shortly after he arrived at Creighton University Medical Center. His son was unharmed; he toddled out of the house after the shooting and was swooped up by an officer.

Bell at no time attempted to surrender, the chief said. Alcohol and drugs likely compounded his suicidal behavior, Schmaderer said.
Frame from video recorded by a police-cruiser camera

IDIOT COPS.  His girlfriend told them the gun was unloaded.

And if you can't stake your life on the word of a woman possessing the good judgment to shack up with -- and have three children by -- a felon who had a three-page rap sheet, outstanding warrants and numerous convictions, including several firearms violations, on what exactly can you stake your life?

From the decidedly tear-stained report by KETV television Tuesday night:
Levette Spracher’s new year starts with the unthinkable.

“It wasn't right,” Spracher said. She talked to KETV Newswatch 7’s Natalie Glucklich just hours after her fiancé, Tyree Bell, 31, was shot by Omaha police during an armed confrontation.

Spracher says early Tuesday morning, she and Bell had an argument and, for Bell, a painful discussion about the future.

"He cried and I [could] see it in his eyes, it's like, he was giving up,” said Spracher. “I mean, I actually looked and I felt his pain; he was giving up.”

Spracher says her fiancé struggled with depression and schizophrenia. He’d been convicted of terroristic threats and assault, among other crimes. Spracher says Bell assumed the worst after someone called police to their house near 42nd and Pratt.

“He was like, ‘Man, they’re going to kill me, they're going to kill me,'" said Spracher. “I was like, ‘No, they're not, no, they're not.'"

Spracher says she ran outside to tell officers her fiancé was armed with a shotgun.

“I said, ‘It’s not loaded,'" said Spracher. “It wasn't loaded.”
BECAUSE someone that right about men couldn't possibly be that wrong about whether a gun was loaded or not.

Listen, I'm sorry Spracher and her kids are traumatized. I'm sorry she lost a boyfriend and three children lost a father -- even a whacked-out, felonious one.
I'm sorry Tyree Bell made such a terminal mess of his life. And I'm sorry that Bell is dead and that four cops will have to live with killing someone -- even justifiably -- for the rest of their lives.

What I'm most sorry about, though, is that contemporary journalism, just like contemporary American society, finds itself completely unable to deal with uncomfortable facts. Like, for one, that this poor woman made some catastrophically bad choices involving men -- or at least a man. That she compounded her error by shacking up with that massively troubled individual who had no capacity for obeying the law, then gave society a gift that is likely to keep on giving by having three children with him.

Those three children's long odds in life just got a lot longer, thanks to being witness to a human spectacle that's just about as ugly as they come -- a trauma that will likely torment them all their lives, a torment they're apt to endure absent the kinds of cultural and mental-health resources they so desperately need.


What I want to know is where that story is? You know, the little story that tells the big story of underclass deviance (in the sociological sense), and how it makes every noble program government can devise and every good deed and heroic effort by pastors, teachers, charities and social workers -- let's be honest here -- an absolute crapshoot, more likely to spectacularly implode in fantastically expensive futility than not.



AND HOW about how our culture not only eggs this sort of deviance on, but now is being driven by it? And where's the story about how inner-city black folk were just the canaries in the coal mine, and that this kind of foolishness is turning a lot of working class white folk into poster children for social anarchy, too?

There are two big reasons why you won't see those stories on the 6 o'clock news, or in the Daily Blab. For one thing, they're hard, and journalists are lazy -- and budget constrained. And for another, we might see too much of ourselves as we peer into the dysfunction within the Proles' District.

That will definitely harsh your mellow, man. Sin, after all, is short-term enjoyment, and we are a short-term people who love us some enjoyment. Consequences be damned.

What? You think the bat-sh*t craziness of Congress came from nowhere?

More after these words from our sponsor. Buy some stuff; it'll make you happy. Practice safe sex. Take Plan B if you don't. Be aware of your surroundings. Lock your car. Keep valuables hidden in your trunk. Avoid certain areas after dark. Film at 11.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

0 snappy rejoinders: