Thursday, October 11, 2012

Opinion Post: Why We Are The Way That We Are.

     Yes, the title to this piece is a reference to an episode of The Office.  That is where the extent of the humor goes for this piece.  This piece is about media sensationalism and I feel the need to write this after this was first referenced in an episode of The Newsroom about the Casey Anthony case and then recently with the missing persons case in Colorado involving the disappearance of ten-year-old Jessica Ridgeway on her way to school.  Now, I am going to do EXACTLY what The Newsroom did and talk about what the most sensationalized missing persons cases had in common.  First, Etan Patz.  The story behind this was that six-year-old Etan went missing in Manhattan.  His body was never recovered.  His killer was also never convicted as of yet.  Second, Natalee Holloway.  Her story is that she went missing while on a trip to Aruba.  Her body was never recovered and her presumed killer is in prison for an unrelated murder.  Third, Caylee Anthony.  She went missing and her mother was the presumed murderer.  She was acquitted and Caylee's remains were recovered.  I am not going to talk about Jessica out of respect for her parents privacy, but the fourth example is Leiby Kletzky, an eight-year-old boy abducted in Brooklyn and killed.  His body was found dismembered in the freezer of his abductor.

Here is an analysis of the variables surrounding some of the most sensationalized abduction cases in America:


Etan Patz
Natalee Holloway
Caylee Anthony
Leiby Kletzky
Age
Under 10
Over 10
Under 10
Under 10
Race
Caucasian
Caucasian
Caucasian
Caucasian
Place of Residence
Manhattan, NY
Clinton, Mississippi
Orlando Fl.
Brooklyn, NY
Did they know the abductor?
Unknown
No
Unknown
No
Did they trust the abductor?
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Assumed Yes
Where they went missing from
On his way to school
Trip to Aruba
Her home
On his way home from school
Fate
Presumed Dead in Absentia
Presumed Dead in Absentia
Found Murdered
Found Murdered
Killer’s Fate
Unknown
In Prison for an unrelated murder
Unknown
Prison until 2051


As you can see, the only common factor between all four cases is that they were all Caucasian.  It would also explain why there has been no sensationalized kidnapping/murder stories of minorities.

Now to explain the other main issue with the media is the sensationalization of kidnapping in general.  Here is how the stats actually break down nationally:
800,000 children per year are reported missing or abducted.  Considering there are roughly 73,847,284 his translates to 1.08%.  Of the children missing, 69,000 are abducted.  So this means that 0.0009% of kids under 18 are abducted.  Of abductions, only 12,000 are non-family related.  This is 0.0001% of kids.

Yes abductions are a tragedy but it is no reason to change our lives for them.

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