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Crime knows no racial barriers

Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 2:57 PM

I wrote police blotter for the T-G for 32 years...and when law enforcement gave as good a desciption as possible of people such as robbers, home invaders or even fleeing murderers I always listed the race of that person.

It made no difference at all to me what the race of the person or persons happened to be me. My idea was to provide as much help as possible in apprehending them before they attacked someone else.

And before you ask, I've done it immediately after a crime was committed against my wife. A black man took her car at knifepoint in our garage after following her home after she had gone to a drug store to get medication I needed to stay alive. He delivered her car, which had been chosen by color and style, to a group of white men in South Pittsburg. The car was later used in the robbery or a savings and loan in Carroll County.

A black man gave vital information to a white law enforcement officer and this led to breaking up a group known as the Chattanooga Bank Robbery Gang.

I've noticed in recent years some bloggers and those who respond to news stories immediately flare up on racial issues.

You name it and hundreds of times I covered crimes and took photographs of crime scenes where victims of all races had said crimes committed against them by people of all races.

I came to one conclusion in those 32 years and still feel the same today.

We have good and bad in every race. The good had better do everything possible to help themselves and others against the bad.

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For about 31 years I compiled Bedford County's crime statistics at the end of each of those years. Several interesting facts emerged, especially following the very first drug incident.

How our crime patterns changed over those years, supported by those facts based on crimes committed, not arrests made, proved to be both revealing and surprising.

-- Posted by bomelson on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 2:45 PM

I wonder what effect the increasing variety of our population will have.

We may reach a point where we can't always say for certain what a person's age,sex or race are.

We could say "The person appeared to be a young adult,about 5'10",approximately 160 lbs;coarse,wavy,dark brown hair,dark eyes,mid-range copper complexion,high voice,no discernible accent,thick scar on left wrist."

We'll describe ourselves more as we do our dogs and cats and horses.

It won't be as easy to be specific instead of relying on generalities but we'll come closer to seeing individuals and not groups.

With more hybrids and more subgroups joining us all the time,we may have to do offline what we do when we interact online.

We may have to look at people's character and deeds rather than their appearance and how they speak.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 1:55 PM

More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For black males in their twenties, 1 in every 8 is in prison or jail on any given day. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the "war on drugs," in which three-fourths of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color. Considering Caucasians make up almost 80% of the population while Hispanics make up only around 14% and African Americans even less at 12%, makes one wonder about trends in crime and assumptions made.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 12:08 PM

I've covered my own share of crime beats in several towns and states. There were times I put in a descriptive of the suspect, such as "black" or "white" or "African American" or "Caucasian," depending on the requisite level of political correctness that particular newspaper required.

But the ONLY time I did so was when the description was relevant to the story -- such as a hate crime -- or the description could help law enforcement in capturing the suspect.

-- Posted by MotherMayhem on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 8:52 AM

Bo .. you ever though about running for office.... you got a sharp pen, and a smart intelligent mind, can we put you on the Supreme Court BO ????and like you i don't care about the race, or gender either... it won't never stop but least i love to see it slow down... seems we have as much crime as Nashville... please keep up the good work.. i like reading your work... i love to have a blood pressure cup on you when you write some of this... have a wonderful, blessed day you and your lovely wife...

-- Posted by southern-shaker on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 5:34 AM

All I am saying, is these liberal bleeding hearts say there should be be no discrimination whatsoever.

Then don't categorize Americans by race, if you are born here or become a citizen you are American right?

I am being sarcastic, I know we have to identify criminals, and this is the only way we have to do it, that is by their ethnic appearance.

I heard about a case where a guy got robbed by men in drag, how would you report that?[sarcasm]

-- Posted by michaelbell on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 10:08 PM

I agree Bo. Michael he is probably talking about giving descriptions of suspects. Calling a suspect an American with out describing his "race" or "gender" is pointless. Think about what you said. And when they are referring to white people in a case yes they will say a white male, white female, White American, or White American Male, White American Female, etc. when it comes to situation out of the country.

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 9:50 PM

I am not stirring up trouble, I agree with Bo on this one all the way. When a crime is committed

nothing should get in the way of justice.

I would be just as quick to pursue a Christian brother as I would anyone else.

-- Posted by michaelbell on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 9:45 PM

I agree, where it started , who knows?

Crime does know no barriers, nor should justice!

Regardless of race sex , religion, orientation or whatever, justice should be served.

Notice how the media keeps referring to the origin of Americans, like African, Mexican or Asian or all the others, do they ever say Caucasian American in the news?

I thought that if you were American, you were American.

-- Posted by michaelbell on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 7:44 PM

AMEN!-and I don't know what prompted this blog???

-- Posted by kfernandez on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 3:55 PM

I'm positive I know what prompted this blog and I couldn't agree more.

-- Posted by Nobody'sFool on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 3:07 PM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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