Biting the Hand that Feeds You

I’m intrigued by this post from Second City Cop, that talks about leaders of a community that are demanding police do something about violence, while having previously crapped all over them for…. doing something about violence.  I thought this quote from an otherwise good editorial Chicago-Sun times was also interesting, but a little off in terms of semantics:

During that same period, 1,253 persons were shot by random civilian gunfire. Of that number, 410 victims were 19 years old and under. The total number of fatal shootings in this age group was 44. Also, four teenagers were bludgeoned, four were stabbed, one was burned to death and four others were killed by an unknown weapon.

Is this gunfire really that random?  Or does it involve disputes among criminals?  The term civilian does, actually, have the term “civil” in it, and I’m relatively hesitant to apply the term “civilian” to thugs shooting it out with each other on the streets.  I’m generally not one to pick over semantics, especially when I agree with the points made in the editorial, but I think the more we write like this, the more we lose.

It’s great to see the media beginning to understand the problem; that neighborhoods need to stand up and cooperate with police to fight crime, but I will still encourage the media to carefully pick terms that do a better job of characterizing criminals, who are willful, and generally not all that random, in the type of crime they ply in their neighborhoods.