I Know Where You Live

Today the Providence Journal reports a horrific home invasion and rape of a pregnant woman in Central Falls. The victim’s nine year old son witnessed the crime. He is a victim too. Following long-standing editorial policy, the Journal did not disclose the name of the victim. Instead they published her address, along with a helpful link to Google Maps. The attackers are still at large.

Reading between the lines, drugs may have been involved. I don’t care. It sounds like the victim is cooperating and the police have some leads.

Every so often, someone questions the Journal policy of publishing the names and addresses of people who report crimes. I remember when a Journal employee out jogging in Pawtuxet was punched out by some guys he didn’t know. The Journal printed his name, address and place of work.

The Journal defended their policy, saying that naming names deters false reports. For sure, and deters true ones too. A reporter said to me, ‘some of these old ladies leave their windows open.’ Well, the Journal will teach them a lesson, I guess.

Here is another story from today.
I’ve blocked out identifiers…

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — A Pawtucket man was shot in the foot late Monday night, said Major Arthur Martins of the Pawtucket Police Department.

At midnight, the police received a call from Miriam Hospital reporting a man had been admitted with a gun-shot wound to his foot, Martins said.

The man, [name, age, address], said he was shot around 11:30 p.m. in front of a closed convenience store at ——-, Martins said.

“We went to the area he said this occurred and did not find any shell casings or any people who reported hearing shots fired,” Martins said. “We are not saying it didn’t happen there; we just don’t have definitive proof.”

——-told officers he was walking down West Avenue, saw a car drive past him, turn around and approach him, Martins said. —— said he saw the car’s window go down and then heard four shots fired, Martins said.

——— walked to the home of a friend, who drove him to the hospital, Martins said.

“He said he has no enemies and no idea who would shoot him.

If this was a case of mistaken identity, or random malice, the victim is at a disadvantage. He has no idea who shot him, but the shooter can find out where the victim lives, and also that he reported to the police.

A newspaper is not a conduit, like a storm sewer, where news flows to the lowest level. There’s editors and reporters and journalistic standards and discretion what they report and why. Our one major state newspaper stubbornly defends publishing information that could add to the stigma, and danger, suffered by crime victims. A nine year old boy has been outed for witnessing a crime against his mother. What public benefit is there to publishing his address? Is this universal newspaper practice?

We just got home from Louisville, Kentucky. Their major newspaper has a website that
lists every police report for every neighborhood. It’s a great tool for citizens who want to be aware of what’s happening and which kinds of crimes are occurring where. But they don’t list names or addresses. The Louisville Courier-Journal crime reports look like this…

Details about case 80-11-049478

DATE: JUNE 26, 2011
TIME: 4:12 AM

This isn’t complicated. We have a right and a need to know what is happening where. In the case of a major crime like this awful home invasion I want to know which part of Central Falls. But I think of that woman and her little boy and wonder if they have a safe place to live. I think about neighbors and classmates and lost privacy. I think about cars cruising by in the night, about people who get off on crime and people who might want to scare away witnesses. And I wonder why the Journal stubbornly refuses to consider the safety and dignity of crime victims when they make their policies.

UPDATE: I asked in the comments to the story in ProJo online why they printed the address and got a quick response saying it has been removed. Thank you, ProJo.

SUSPECT IN CUSTODY: They have a suspect, the above link has details.

Predictions 2011

Kind of fun. CNN has some predictions made by experts in various fields to the New York Times in 1931– check out the hits and misses…

I thought the net would abound with provocative and edgy predictions, but most psychics favor the vague. I’m posting these predictions by Tremcrst who’s not afraid to say in plain English that Toronto will be over-run by bats. Other predictions here.

I think our readers are likely to get at least a few hits. How about it? What’s your predictions for 2011? Let’s not wimp out, like some, and predict that ‘a natural disaster will occur in China’. Look at China on a map. It’s big. Also, ‘celebrity overdose’, sadly, is just about inevitable.

Here’s some predictions for the first six months…

January 2011– cyberattack on banks make debit cards useless for a day.
February 2011– Dow Jones hits 12,000
March 2011– Roots Cafe opens on Westminster Street, becomes a happening place.
April 2011– Heat wave in Northeast spurs fears of global warming.
May 2011– Rabid coyote terrorizes South Kingston
June 2011–Mass wedding on the State House lawn, in rainbow colors.

So, I’ve put it in writing, let’s see if my random guesses psychic predictions come true.

Mr. Green, who is sometimes scary with his prescience, is on the fence. He says that 2011 will either be a very good year, or a very bad one. Not a dull year, such as 1987, which you cannot off the top of your head recall anything about. Jessica McClure falling down a well and ‘Hustler v. Falwell’ making the Supreme Court is all that rings a bell with me.

So far we have–

North Korea heats up and sparks conflict.
Elderly Fidel Castro passes.

Central Falls drags the rest of the state down with its financial crisis.

as above
Central Falls, with its unique topography, its narrow, walkable streets, it’s many boarded up triple-deckers and vacant storefronts, becomes Greenwich Village North. Latte-drinkers might be annoying, but it beats having a disgraced prison-for-profit in the heart of town.

Ten points for being specific–Allison Warden predicts that the Rapture will come May 21, 2011. She’s driving around in a sporty Rapturemobile to get the message out. I’m not sure why, though. She believes in Predestination, so what’s the point?

Chinese New Year is February 3rd. It’s the Year of the Rabbit. The Yin Metal Rabbit to be specific. That would make a great comic book character. Predictions for your animal sign here. We have two more months of the Year of the Tiger, so maybe by Spring we will be in a less fierce and more cuddly space.

So this political forecast says. Bad time to buy defense industry stocks, good time to buy real estate. But you might not want to make any long-term investments, or bother paying off your credit card. The world is going to end in 2011. If, however, the colliding asteroid scenario doesn’t play out, and we get the Rapture instead, the Republican Party is history in 2012.

And what list of predictions would be complete without questionable translations of the word salad composed in Medieval French by Nostrodamus? Keith Tax studies the ancient mystic, and the writings of Edgar Cayce, concluding that the economy will improve. Unfortunately the East Coast will disappear under the Atlantic, which makes me think twice about taking out a loan for a new roof this year.

CBS News predicts that the US will begin to pull out of Afghanistan and that Congress will come together over the national debt. Of which a large expense is war, but will anyone in Congress be brave enough to say it? Austerity for the workers, tax cuts for the rich should be a tough sell, but it works in the short term– gets you influential friends. I predict that the Tea drinkers will be trying simultaneously to look like mavericks and march in step.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a frigid winter– not good news with the price of oil going up. Snow’s blowing sideways now and I’m predicting I’ll be late for work tomorrow.

Sophia Angelique has some pragmatic analysis of the difficulty of predicting the future before it happens, but has a link to the year of the rabbit. She says the arts will be big this year, backing up my prediction that the Roots Cafe will flourish and blossom this spring.