Crime in black and white…. not really

If you want an objective character reference, let’s all agree that parents and family members should be excluded.  Here, in black and white, are two horrendous murders with some disturbing similarities, yet in all likelihood no easy pop culture, politicized race banner waving connection exists.  Yes, both victims were set ablaze inside their cars and died unimaginably gruesome deaths, on that point there’s no debate.

The night of the Ferguson grand jury decision, Deandre Joshua, 20 was murdered – shot in the head while inside his car and then his car was set on fire.  Details related, please take with a few extra grains of salt, because the facts might be completely different than the reporting.  So, a photo of a much younger Deandre hit the press  (Trayvon Martin anyone), and reporters gathered all sorts of quotes from assorted family members… “employed at Wal-mart”, “never in trouble”, “good kid”, etc., etc., etc.   Here’s that photo from the Huffington Post.

Most of us don’t have the time to research new reports, in fact, there’s a presumption that the professional journalists would employ an ethical standard, whereby scrupulous fact-checking would be the rule.  This sweet-faced young man’s face stuck with me, leaving a feeling of deep sadness, and I wanted there to be some connection, as the blogosphere buzzed, with Joshua’s death being because he was a grand jury witness.  Officials in Ferguson stated Joshua was not a grand jury witness.  Yet, Joshua, the good kid with a job, was friends with Dorian Johnson, who was present with Michael Brown during the commission of a strong arm robbery and also at the scene during the confrontation between Brown and Officer Wilson.

Alas, today, weeks later, I came across other photos of Deandre Joshua, ostensibly gleaned from his social media.  A very different picture emerged as I reviewed these photos of Joshua, the Wal-mart employee, flashing big wads of cash.  According to GotNews:

“Media outlets all over the planet reported on the death of DeAndre Joshua as the “First Ferguson Riots Fatality.” They ran with a years-old photo of Joshua taken in high school.

He was, in fact, a drug dealer, according to both law enforcement sources and his Facebook page.”

Now, the next crime up, that has the press once again talking to the grieving parents, is the horrific death last weekend of Jessica Lane Chambers, 19, from MS.  Details to emerge assert she was doused with lighter fluid and set ablaze.  The blogosphere’s been abuzz with assertions that she had ended an abusive relationship with a black boyfriend.  Her mother stated that Jessica was just going to wash her car and pick up fast food Saturday night – perfectly innocent.  Maybe that’s true.  The Treepers over The Conservative Treehouse blog once again are putting together all the loose threads about this case.  They offer photos of the crime scene, aerial view of the area and a timeline they’ve pieced together, with the missing data that might reveal what really happened:

“Her vehicle entered the gas station from North, headed South. Her model car (2005 Kia Rio) gas tank access is on the drivers side of the vehicle.

She then leaves the gas station headed again in a Southbound direction at approximately 6:32pm. Her home is in the opposite direction, North.

Approximately 90 minutes later the fire department responded to the call at Herron Road. What happened between 6:30 and 8:00pm is the unknown timeframe.

According to her mom, Lisa Chambers, either she called home -or her mom called her- at 6:48pm. Prior to that call when Jessica left home she stated she was going to “clean her car”, and then “get something to eat”. Jessica was wearing PJ style camo (black and white) pants, possibly flannel, and a dark zip-up hoodie.”

The press ran with photos of this young woman, provided by family, show a younger, very innocent-looking blond girl.  Perhaps the truth will support neither the racial angle to the story some are promoting nor the completely hapless victim angle. There’s more to why she was at this isolated area.  Time and more digging will uncover the facts, but my hunch is that instead of race or politics, maybe drugs played a central role in both crimes, providing that link that crosses racial, socio-economic and political boundaries.  Just a thought…

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Filed under Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics, The Media

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