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.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:
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"...
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