A man fatally shot 17-year-old Brendan Ofori on a D.C. Metro train Sunday morning. The Washington Post's coverage of the story includes crime statistics that compare the transportation system's year-to-date data from this year and last: robberies up 156 percent, aggravated assaults up 35 percent, larcenies up 116 percent.
When the city council passed a veto-proof overhaul of the district's criminal code earlier this year (in opposition to the mayor's wishes), Joe Biden signed the Congress's rejection of the proposed changes that would have eliminated most mandatory minimum sentences, reduced mandatory maximum penalties and allowed jury trials for misdemeanors.
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It’s possible that the increase in crime statistics is due in part to a more watchful police force; I’ll excuse the scarier numbers in exchange for a better sense of where the wind is blowing. But this can’t account for every increase: year-to-date calls for service have increased almost 42 percent.
What struck me most about WaPo’s local crime coverage was not the data, but an ironically placed article featured on the right column of the site used for pimping pieces that are gaining traction: “The revolt of the Christian home-schoolers,” the first headline read. My TAC colleague John Hirschauer called out this piece yesterday – “I am always amazed in pieces like this by reporters' contempt for and caricaturish views of conservative Christianity” – but it bears repeating. WaPo reporters use the same Metro system that has responded to four homicides so far this year compared with zero this time last year. They pass by the criminals whose mugshots appear on the nightly news.
When a WaPo reporter hears about Christian parents in Kentucky teaching their children at home and meeting up with family friends on a weekday, the reaction is striking: A Sunday morning train shooting in the nation’s capital is a fact of life, but the Kentuckians are a problem. Maybe the Post knows something we don’t: maybe the Sunday morning shooter was homeschooled.