Early yesterday morning, Metro Editor Marc Masferrer and reporter Robert Napper posted the gruesome news: Manatee County had its 22nd homicide of the year. And, as if any murder isn’t disturbing, this one was particularly so: The body had been dismembered and torched.
Napper updated the story online throughout the day on Bradenton.com, and followed with this report today on Page 1A in the Herald.
Sad to say, the comments online have been predictably filled with trash talk. We despise commenters who react almost with glee that there has been so much violence in Manatee County. But rather than react to them, we choose to pursue this coverage despite them.
A 19-year-old and her unborn child were slain; a body is torched within view of one of our main thoroughfares. And that’s just in the past week. Regardless of who is to blame, these are victims whose lives went wrong somehow. In coming days, our reporters will continue to probe why these crimes are escalating.
If drugs are to blame, then we’d better declare a stronger war on drugs. If it's random violence with no common thread, then we still need to rally for safety and justice. This is our home –- and thugs cannot own it.