SCHOOL LIVES MATTER: One dead in Gotham public school!


Part 1—Few signs that anyone cares:
So far, 59 people were shot and killed in Las Vegas last Sunday. A great deal of attention is being paid, as is completely appropriate.

Five days earlier, one person was stabbed to death in the Bronx. There are very few signs that anyone actually cares.

The stabbing victim, Matthew McCree, was 15 years old. He was killed in a classroom fight at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, his somewhat improbably named New York City public high school.

According to Mayor de Blasio, McCree's death involves an undesirable milestone. The killing seems to have been "the first inside a city school building in more than two decades," or so the mayor has reportedly said.

The Times reported the incident in a Thursday morning news report in its New York section. These were the basics, as reported by Sarah Maslin Nir:
NIR (9/28/17): A 15-year-old was fatally stabbed and a 16-year-old was critically wounded in their Bronx high school on Wednesday morning in what police say was apparently the culmination of weeks of conflict.

The killing, the first inside a city school building in more than two decades, according to the mayor, set off a lockdown that left hundreds of children cowering inside their classrooms, the older ones frantically texting parents for help. As word of the killing spread, parents desperate to see their children descended on the school building, which houses two schools—the elementary school P.S. 67 and the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, serving students in grades 6 to 12.

The two who were stabbed were students in the Wildlife Conservation school. The police said that Abel Cedeno, another student at the school, was taken into custody and was charged late Wednesday with murder and attempted murder.

The chief of detectives, Robert K. Boyce, said Mr. Cedeno, 18, had handed a switchblade to a school counselor after the stabbing before heading to an administrator's office, where he waited for the police to arrive.

The boy who died, Matthew McCree, was stabbed in the chest, according to the police. He was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The other victim was stabbed in the arm and the torso, and was in critical but stable condition. The other victim's name had not been released.

In an interview, Kevin Sampson, a dean at school, said the fatal confrontation stemmed from ''bullying"...
On Friday morning, the Times provided more information in a front-page news report. In that report, the paper explicitly reported what it had suggested on Thursday:

Cedeno, the alleged killer, had been teased and bullied for some time over perceptions that he was gay. According to the Times report, he had "told a friend he felt trapped. Classmates were mocking him with racist and homophobic slurs, he said."

Cedeno also "told detectives that other classmates had been harassing him since the start of school," the Times reported that day.

According to Mayor de Blasio, this was the first killing in a Gotham public school in more than two decades. The Times did extensive reporting on the incident on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings—and there the matter will stand.

This incident will not be discussed within the sprawling grounds of American news and pseudo-discussion. You won't see it mentioned on the Fox News Channel, or on MSNBC.

You won't see it mentioned at liberal sites, for many obvious reasons. Overall, though, the reason is this:

No one actually cares about young people like these, unless their lives, and their deaths, can be put to use within our tribal wars.

Should liberal pundits be discussing this matter? It's just one incident, after all, and de Blasio's comment makes it sound like a major outlier.

Should this incident be discussed? We're going to say that it should. Here's why:

We were struck by several aspects of the Times' reporting. In at least one way, we were struck by the incompetence of the reporting itself.

In other ways, we were stuck by information the Times reported about the school these students attended—the somewhat improbably named Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation.

We were struck by school-wide test score data the Times presented. We were appalled by interviews about the school with parents of various students.

We were struck by the school's improbable name—by the way this public high school has been organized and operated. We were struck by a wide array of facts as we read about this killing.

Let's be clear. The Times was only reporting these facts because a student had been killed. But if the student who carried that knife had mercifully failed to draw blood, those facts about that public school should have been on the Times' front page all the same.

That said, alas! Absent the killing, those facts would not have hit the Times front page, for the reason we've long discussed—because no one actually gives a rat's ass about the low-income kids who attend that public school.

No one cares about them at Fox; no one cares about those kids at The Maddow Show. We liberals care about kids like these only to the extent that we can seize on an occasional death to make a pleasing tribal point about our own glorious selves as opposed to the horrible Others.

We've been telling you this for years—plainly, no one actually cares about low-income kids. In the eyes of the wider world, their school lives really don't matter.

Lives at Las Vegan concerts do, as they plainly should. School lives in Gotham do not. Nothing could be more obvious.

In the next two days, we'll review some of the facts in those Times' reports—facts we found instructive. On Friday, we'll review the latest nationwide scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress—the NAEP.

Those latest data from the NAEP are almost two years old. You've never heard a word about them because, in fact, nobody cares about test scores, except to the extent that such scores can be put to corporate use.

Rachel does't care about those scores. Neither do her corporate bosses.

We liberals don't care either, or so her bosses have judged. Should we maybe possibly judge that her bosses are right?

Tomorrow: The Times reports the most recent test scores from an oddly-named public high school


  1. IMHO the media's worst sin in this area is under-reporting black on black crime, especially black on black murders. If a white person kills a black person, that's big news, but not if a black kills a black.

    Yet, the greatest threat to black lives is other blacks. There are over 7,000 such murders each year. T

    The murder rate had been declining for many years, but 900 more blacks were murdered in 2015 than in 2014 and 900 more in 2016 than in 2015. Most of the murderers were also black. How many readers were aware of these figures?

    Causation can never be absolutely proved. But, there is overwhelming evidence that the cause was less aggressive policing in the black communities, which was caused by Obama Administration policies, Black Lives Matter, etc.

    1. Open Letter to White People Who Are Obsessed With Black-on-Black Crime


      That fact would give me pause or make me feel ashamed if I didn’t know that the same 2013 FBI report (the latest year for which statistics are available) goes on to say that 83 percent of white victims of murder were killed by white people.

      Comrade DinC believes in tough love for blacks in this country. Emphasis on the word "tough", as in tough shit if David's party systematically works to suppress their votes.

    2. No the Obama administration does not control policing, local police departments do,but you have a script to push, not facts.

    3. mm -- if you lived in a high crime neighborhood, would you want aggressive policing? Of course you would. Similarly, black people living in high crime neighborhoods benefit from aggressive policing.

      AnonymousOctober 3, 2017 at 1:24 PM -- the killing Bob described is atypical. I am more concerned about the many thousands of "normal" murders of black people.

    4. I would want effective policing not aggressive policing. In black neighborhoods what works best is community-based policing coupled with gang control efforts. Get tough policing doesn't work. LA has tried both and dramatically reduced crime with better methods, not get tough approaches.

    5. Alan Snipes -- the Obama Justice Dept investigated several big city police departments. Each investigation led to requirements that made that police department less aggressive.

      E.g., you can read about the Baltimore Police Dept consent agreement with the Obama Justice Dept. at

    6. Aggressive policing is bad policing. That's why the DOJ recommended changes to make them less aggressive.

    7. mm -- I have no experience in police work, so all I can do is look at the results. In a period when policing became less aggressive, the average number of blacks murdered annually rose by 1800. And, much of the increase occurred in cities where the policing became less agressive.

      Here's an example reported a couple of days ago where less aggressive policing led to more shootings, although this one isn't the fault of Obama's Justice Dept.

      Cops in some crime-ridden South Bronx neighborhoods have all but abandoned aggressive or intuitive policing — to avoid getting sued or otherwise derailing their careers, officers admitted to The Post.

      The dangerous hands-off approach in the NYPD’s 4more black people are murdered each year, as compared with 2014.2nd Precinct is reflected in official crime statistics, which show that shootings are up dramatically there.

    8. Wow. So instead of police officers quitting a job they can't perform legally, or learning how to do their job legally, they instead played the victim, moped, and didn't perform their jobs.
      It's amazing how few police officers get shot in this country.

    9. Leroy -- Your comments may be correct, but they're a bit off point. Regardless of how blacks came to be concentrated in urban areas, it's important that they not be murdered.

      Anon 9:59 -- yes you can fault the police, but the important thing is to have policies so that fewer people will be murdered.

      How many police are killed in the line of duty? According to NPR the figure in 2015 was 123. Is this a big or a small number? I think that depends on whether you or a loved one is policeman.

      According to WaPo, over a period of several years, of police killed on duty, 52 percent of the offenders were white, and 43 percent were black. Blacks constitute 13% of the population but kill 43% of the police.

    10. "I think that depends on whether you or a loved one is policeman."

      Are the number of unarmed black men shot by police large or small?
      I think that depends on whether you or a loved one see black men as humans.

  2. Well, liberals are upper middle class people.

    Sure, they need the underclass (and even some working class) when it's time to vote, but their real base, those who read the NYT and other crappy yellow-press publications, are dumbed down upper middle class professionals.

    So, obviously they are looking for fashion and dating topics, not depressing underclass-related ones.

    1. News to this liberal that I belong to the upper class. By the way how can. I get a 900 million dollar tax deduction, just like the working class hero in the White House?

    2. That's 'dumbed down upper middle class', Alan.

      And thank you for confirming the dumbed down part, btw.

    3. I was born and raised working class, working my way through school and attained "professional" status. My attitude though has not changed, I knew then as I know now, the Republican party is not my friend and they sure as he'll don't represent my interests.

  3. The "Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation."

    Lol. That's f*kn Hilarious.

  4. Here's an example of something else not being discussed much.

    This is an example of a failing charter school. It has the odd name because it is run by a company named Urban Assembly. They inflict their services on poor students in low income neighborhoods. Here is what the article says in parts not quoted by Somerby:

    "Student test scores are low: This year 13 percent of the middle school students passed the state reading tests, and 5 percent passed the state math tests. In 2016, the school’s four-year high school graduation rate was 73 percent. More than half of the high school students were chronically absent that year, meaning they missed more than 10 percent of school days.

    Three years ago, the school changed principals, and it appears to have faced some challenges since: In a school survey conducted last year, just 55 percent of students said that they felt safe in the hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms and cafeteria, down from 74 percent the year before."

    So they apparently replaced a minimally competent principal with an incompetent one. Bullying is an important problem but it is being addressed effectively all over the country. This school had other alternatives besides metal detectors. It seems likely the principal had poor training and didn't know how to run the school properly and the students suffered.

    Why do we allow this to happen? When Betsy DeVos flies around in her private jet touting private enterprise in public schools, this is too often the result. She ruined the Detroit school system in ways similar to the way this charter company is ruining the lives of these students.

    By the way, they are in The Bronx, not Gothan (a fictional place that Somerby thinks is cute to reference). Why does Somerby never say clearly what he means, why does he disguise important info about whatever topic he discusses, and why does he so often MISS THE POINT on important issues?

  5. Anon, not sure he did miss the point, or at least the point you made. Bob is on point to the extent to which his website exists, media malfeasance, or as another poster made plain, “musings of the mainstream press corps.” Right there in the title. I do hope Bob pursues the topic of your focus, but the fact is, the failure of “charter schools,” another name for profit-making entities, on the dole from the taxpayers, with oftentimes no local oversight, has been reported extensively – just not by the msm. Naomi Klein wrote about the this topic in her book “Disaster Capitalism.”

    He did write this:

    “Those latest data from the NAEP are almost two years old. You've never heard a word about them because, in fact, nobody cares about test scores, except to the extent that such scores can be put to corporate use.”

    Just titillation it seems, but I’m quite sure Bob is cognizant of the failures of “charter schools.”
    That being said, I appreciate your post. You did focus on a very important issue raised in the article.

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