National Public Radio says that a Los Angeles Times homicide blog that has documented each murder in L.A. County since 2007 illustrates the dichotomy between the cases that make the front pages and those that are more representative of big-city violence. “The truth about homicide,” says Jill Leovy, who created the Times blog, “is that it is black men in their 20s, in their 30s, in their 40s. The way we guide money and policy in this country, we do not care about those people. It’s not described as what’s central to our homicide problem…I wanted people to see those lives and to see that that’s our real homicide problem in America.
Leovy set out to give a name, an identity and a story to every person who was murdered in L.A. County. She wants society to get away from “medieval notions” of deserving or not deserving to be killed. She acknowledges that murder rates are way down in recent years, but says it’s never been about that. “Homicide is not a mass syndrome in America,” she says. “It’s a concentrated group of people and that group of people is still horribly affected by homicide.” Young black men are “in a war zone, and the rest of us are living in a different country.”