The News Media Whispers the Truth About Crime

Three guests on Larry King’s July 30 TV show droned on about reforming parole regulations to prevent such home invasions in the future. Fine, reform the system. But remember that not all predators are paroled felons – they might well be felons already released from parole or up-and-coming young monsters with clean records. What about them?

Inexplicably, the unlocked door the killers had entered was never mentioned on Larry King (and just barely mentioned four times in hundreds of media reports). The glaring flaw in basic home security that led to the fiendish destruction of a family was glossed over as though it was a minor detail. The elephant sitting in the middle of the room was nearly invisible.

Now, had the door been locked, the invaders likely would’ve looked for other ways in, and if that failed, likely would’ve moved on to look for unlocked doors elsewhere (few doors in that naïve “safe” neighborhood were locked – as one report mentioned) and a different family likely would’ve been attacked instead. More details please

The media also had their eyes wide shut during the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping in Salt Lake City in 2002. The kidnapper had entered through an open window, yet the danger of leaving a window open, as usual, got scant attention in the massive media coverage. Since then, the father, the ironically named Ed Smart who’d recruited the Charles Manson-like panhandler/kidnapper to shingle his roof, sometimes guests on TV panel discussions (as an expert) where his security blunders go politely unmentioned.

Of course the media doesn’t want to “blame the victims.” It would seem almost cruel to add insult to injury – to blame those poor souls for contributory negligence. But, as a result, the one possible silver lining in the Petit tragedy – explicitly warning people of possible horror from leaving doors and windows unlocked – was squandered, lost forever. We’ll never know how many future victims of such crimes might have been spared. But just the possibility of sparing even one innocent soul from such a hideous fate would be well worth the tiny effort.

Know this: roughly half of the 8,000-plus home intrusions daily in the US (that’s 2.9 million annually, per the US DOJ) are “Walk-Ins” through doors and windows blithely left unlocked until bedtime or until leaving the home unoccupied. Is the invisible elephant starting to come into focus now?

Of course nobody wants to blame the victims. Those innocents were lulled into the same false sense of security that seduces most people living in the Sleepyvilles of the world. They just didn’t realize that predators far outnumber the police – and that predators have all heard how Sleepyville has poor security – where people actually brag about not locking their doors or windows!

Some particularly innocent victims leave their doors unlocked even after they’ve been invaded through unlocked doors! It’s not always easy to find sympathy for such wanton carelessness, but we must remember, after all, that they are indeed innocent victims – in both senses of the word.

Yet when some poor souls end up butchered, their murders will be bemoaned in the media – with barely a peep about their unlocked doors or windows. And on and on it goes.

Wouldn’t this blasé public attitude improve (at least a bit) if the media regularly mentioned a brief, tactful security precaution at the end of each crime news report? Is the media too polite to save future victims – even if it’s just one?

It’s a shame that those who’ve suffered a crime due to unlocked doors and windows had to learn such a harsh lesson the hard way. The news media could have – and should have – done a better job of warning them.

Be honest now. Do you keep all your doors and windows locked at all times? If not, re-read the above. Gamble in Vegas, not in your life.

Michael Edward Loftus Sr

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