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Post #30 • June 4, 2003, 3:20 AM

It’s 4:42 am, then it’s 5:45, then it’s 6:03 – some knucklehead keeps tapping his car horn outside. I figure out that it’s the signal of a car alarm and roll out of bed. My house smells like generator exhaust. The news vans are back.

Someone, I found out last night, has – for the second time – followed an unnamed student from an unnamed junior high school in the Shenandoah neighborhood, possibly the one across the street, back to her house and raped her. The girls were fifteen and thirteen.

The pink blouse of a slender, young reporter is lit up in the darkness by the light of a video camera. For the protection of the students neither their names or the school’s name will be released, so Shenandoah Junior is being used as a backdrop to give the impression that she is on the scene, which she is not. Neither are the reporters from Channels 7, 36, or the ones whose sound cords dangle from unmarked vans, their broadcast antannae telescoping four stories into the air.

Tragedy strikes, and then it all begins – reporters follow each other to a scene that may be where the students attend school, or perhaps not, but it’s at least similar to the school they would be attending, to inform the viewing public about these crimes. It could have been done from the newsroom, but out here in the darkness of morning the young, slender reporter in pink looks as though she is right there where the news is breaking, as it happens, which she is not, and her tone will be just the right mixture of disinterest and sympathy and outrage, because that is what she is trained to do, and she will be pretty, because that’s a big part of why she was hired, and the crew will report “live” and pack up and leave, off to the next tragedy, while advertisements play between one story and the next.

Update: This is what I get for relying on a cameraman for news. The girl was eleven, and it is not clear whether the attack was related to two others on thirteen-year-olds last month. Story reported by Justin Willet at the Miami Herald.

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