November 23, 2011

Toledo Blade: Robber Killed by Store Clerk While Scooping Up Cash Is ‘Victim’

I admit that I haven’t kept up with trends in establishment press local crime coverage. But an item at Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber’s place about a robbery-related story in Monday’s Toledo Blade caught my attention. I hope the perspective Maggie saw on display is an outlier. I’m concerned that it may not be.

You see, someone robbing a convenience store in the Glass City was killed during the attempt, and the “Blade Staff” in the unbylined story called him a victim — twice:

Person fatally shot in North Toledo
Victim was suspect in apparent robbery attempt

Toledo police are at the scene of a convenience store robbery in North Toledo where one person has been fatally shot.

The deceased was identified by police as Lamar Allen, 25, of Toledo.

The incident occurred about 9:45 a.m. at the Express Carryout, 1920 Mulberry St.

The two adult male suspects were in the process of emptying the store’s cash register when the clerk fatally shot one of them, said Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan. The victim, who was struck multiple times, collapsed right in front of the counter.

It was unclear whether the second suspect, who fled the store, was hit by a bullet or got away with any cash. He was last seen running toward Stickney Avenue.

Victim? Last time I checked, someone trying to rob a convenience store was referred to as an (alleged) “perpetrator,” “robber,” “suspect,” or “criminal.” It is undoubtedly awful that Mr. Allen was shot dead while carrying out his robbery (the Blade “somehow” doesn’t mention whether he was armed or pretended to be), and especially so for his family, relatives, and friends. But that doesn’t make him a victim, and by inference, it doesn’t make the store clerk a perp.

Maggie expounded on the matter a bit:

The bottom line is that the story could have been written and reported on without such biased words being used. But liberal bias in our local daily is a given, rather than the exception.

I have more concern for the store clerk. Even in self-defense, it must be a terrible thing to know you have taken someone’s life – and logic about it being the ‘right’ thing is usually not enough to overcome the feelings that must result.

So is characterizing criminals as “victims” killed or otherwise harmed something seen only occasionally in the far-left Blade, or an growing trend in irresponsible journalism? I certainly hope it’s the former.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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2 Comments

  1. Good stuff, except I could have done without Maggie’s putting the word right in quotation marks in that last quoted paragraph as it implies there is or should be some moral ambiguity about the whole situation where there isn’t and shouldn’t be.

    As for it being awful about Mr. Allen being shot, maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t. You can’t assume that this individual wouldn’t have gone on to do something worse later in life, including possibly killing one or more innocent victims, or even that his family and friends (if he had any) aren’t better off without him. Not to sound cold blooded, but not to point this out would just give fodder to the bleeding heart “oh, how could you have done that!” crowd when it’s not that simple and while it’s okay for the clerk to feel bad (for a limited while at least) he should not be made to feel guilty.

    Comment by zf — November 23, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

  2. [...] Blade care? Well, because the high-and-mighty Blade, which can’t even properly distinguish between victims and perpetrators in crime stories, is suing the Free Press because the Free Press’s business manager, who left [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — November 23, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

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