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they're always polite to their neighbors

Bronx Boy, 13, Shot Dead; killed in elevator after dispute

The first part of the story explains what happened - two young cousins ended up in an elevator with a man who thought the 13 year old was challenging him (which he was not) - the man shot the 13 year old in the head in front of his ten year old cousin, killing him.

The second half of the story reads like this:

Those who know [alleged murderer]James said the slaying doesn't make sense.

A friend of James who asked not to be identified asked why such a big man would "need a gun for a 13-year-old.”

"He's not that kind of person,” the friend continued, adding that James regularly helps tenants, especially older ones, with tasks such as carrying their grocery bags into the building. The friend recalled that James' Chevrolet Tahoe sport utility vehicle recently had been broken into and the radio was stolen. But instead of getting angry, James "was like, ‘What the hell, I'll save up and get another one,'” his friend said.

Norma Ferrer, 65, a retired hospital worker who lives in the building, also was puzzled.

"I can't say anything bad about Demetrius (James),” said Ferrer, who is friends with James' mother and says she has known him all his life. "He's always been nice to me. It's unbelievable.”

A woman who lived next door to Marcus' grandmother on the 12th floor clutched her chest, leaned against the wall and cried, "Oh, God,” when told James had been arrested in the boy's slaying.

"He was always rather respectful,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

When questioned by reporters, James' mother turned her head, her eyes welling with tears, and said, "I have no comment. Leave me alone.”

I sat here for a few moments after reading this, trying to figure out why it bothered me so much.

Ah, I know. It's the way that the media - print media inparticular - tend to write stories with glowing accolades of the (alleged) perpetrator of a crime.

Didn't anyone say what a nice boy the dead 13 year old was?

Didn't anyone clutch their chest and cry in agony when they found out Brandon Marcus was dead?

Didn't anyone else seem puzzled why a 13 year old was shot in the head in an elevator by a 26 year old man?

Let's ignore the victim and paint a nice profile of the thug instead. Next, the writers will be looking for the root causes as to why James had violent tendencies and such a short fuse.

No thanks. I'd rather know a little something about the victim than try, even for a second, to care that a cold blooded killer was polite to his neighbors.

Comments

It's all too common - victimize the perp, demonize or ignore the victim.

"Oh, he's such a good boy. He'd never do anything like that!"

"But he's been convicted of at least 6 violent assaults. How can you say 'He's a good boy'?"

"Oh, he's just misunderstood is all."

It's always amazed me that the media, and particularly the print media, like to sensationalize stories like this.

I had the misfortune of working for one of the local TV stations some years ago. After watching what went on behind the scenes, particularly when a news director wanted a certain slant to a story, I decide that I needed to save my soul and I got the hell out of TV.

Too often news reporting is more opinion and less fact. As I recall, someone once called the media 'infotainment providers'. Sadly, it's pretty close to the truth.

Actually, I think it's worse than that. It's the new journalistic philosophy. Get somebody to say something about anybody, just so that they get a sound bite:

Mrs. Smith, your husband murdered and ate seven teenage girls, how do you feel?

Mr. Jones, your wife put a hit out on you and killed your brother instead, how does that make you feel?

I bet that they couldn't find anybody to talk about the boys, so they went with the soundbites they had.

Integrity? Feh!

"The boys? Hell, they were little bastards. The older one stole cars and took them to Joe's Bait, Pawn & Strip Shop. He'd get two, three a week, and then give the money to his mom. She's a crackhead, of course, but he's a good boy, didn't want her selling her booty in the street. The ten year old, he was always threatening people with this box-cutter he found. But he was a bit small for his age, didn't like being picked on. Why, he'd only slashed four or five people before they started leaving him alone - and the social worker talked his way out of carges for the one that almost died before the parameds got there. And what was the problem - he only needed fifty or so stitches. Of course, they were in his neck.

"They're just kids who are misunderstood. What we don't understand is that the little bastards needed to be locked up a long time ago."

J.

brandon went to my school he was such a niece boy i cant beleive hes dead i hope the bastered who killed him rots in that jail sell my sympathy goes out to all his family and friends

brandon went to my school he was such a niece boy i cant beleive hes dead i hope the bastered who killed him rots in that jail sell my sympathy goes out to all his family and friends