So far this morning, because I've chosen not to cover most crime stories in this site, I've been told that I'm:
1) guilty of censorship
2) not fair to the public
3) totally not cool or acceptable
5) wishy washy
6) required to rectify this situation
You know, I'm a morning person. I usually wake up in a chipper mood. But buddy, this morning, you just opened one big-ass can of bitch.
Editor's note: The remainder of this blog post will be divided into two sections: Section I, which is the part where I get really pissed off and yell a lot, and Section II, in which I calmly discuss my philosophy. Readers with a low bitchiness tolerance threshold are hereupon advised to skip to Section II.
So you're gonna talk smack to me because I let people know about food trucks? Because every once in a while I DO decide to cover a crime story? Because I'm "not planning on covering everything about Granada Hills"? Do you think this is the New York Motherfucking Times I'm running here?
Here's the part I really don't get: your threat to "unsubscribe." Buddy, if you've been paying a subscription fee, you've been sending it to the wrong address, because I haven't seen a dime of your dough.
You have no idea how much time—and money—it would take to cover "everything about Granada Hills." You are completely clueless. To make matters worse, you carry on as if I somehow owe you this sort of complete coverage, for free, and for no salary. I am one person, doing this blog in my spare and not-so-spare time. I live in Granada Hills, and I love Granada Hills. That, and nothing more, is what I put on offer here. Take it, or leave it.
You're also trying to spook me with your warning that "maybe people will start going to another site to get their local Granada Hills coverage"? Maybe they will. I invite you to do so. You can start here: GHScoop.com. Oh, whoops, broken link. But AOL is also planning more hyperlocal coverage with their "Patch" sites, and they've even got a job opening for editor of the Granada Hills Patch. Why don't you apply? You obviously know a metric fuckton about all of this stuff, so go to it! Hell, you could even start your own blog! No one's stopping you! It's a free country! I'll be anxious to see what you come up with, but I'm sure a blog by someone who's most recent Facebook post was "Aw dawg I think I Shit my pants! P U" is going to be great!
My philosophy is this. Plenty of outlets cover crime stories. In fact, that's typically the only type of news coverage Granada Hills gets—crime and the occasional natural or man-made disaster. Worldwide, we're best known for Buford Furrow and for being fairly close to the epicenter of the Northridge earthquake.
And yeah, we've got crime. Just like everywhere else does. Except we've got less of it. News flash: Granada Hills is a low-crime neighborhood. We're one of L.A.'s safer areas. That's one of the best parts of living here. We're not a magical utopian fairyland, but neither is anyplace else on the planet.
I rather enjoy the fact that we're living in one of the lowest crime communities in Los Angeles, and I don't enjoy harping on the fact that crime still exists here. How does that help anyone? How does that enlighten anyone? How would that make this blog anything more than a glorified police blotter?
I only cover crime stories if something about the crime moves me or cracks me up. I covered the tenth anniversary of the North Valley Jewish Community Center shootings because I felt the story was poignant and enlightening. I covered the story about the chick named Crystal Snow White getting arrested for cocaine because the chick's name was Crystal Snow White. And I wrote that piece about the pot farm house because I just woke up in the mood to write a meterless rhyming piece of marijuana-related free verse.
We all know that crime happens. What I like to do is tell people something they didn't know.
- The girl who works the counter at Pet Adventure by day is a musician by night.
- The guy who does the massive pirate Halloween house has taken a UCLA course on attraction design.
- One of the guys who works for Bob The Butcher had to have his knuckle sewed back on.
- The guy who runs Fumi's Tropical Fish is a published author.
- Family Fun Arcade is the number one fighting game mecca in Southern California.
- Balboa Youth Sports Complex is getting shut down.
- The guy who collects all of the Granada Hills weather data won three emmys for his work on Night Court.
I don't believe that anyone's life is enriched by knowing the details of every carjacking, burglary, or wife-beating that happens in their neighborhood. All that does is heighten the too-common misconception that crime is on the rise when in fact the opposite is true, and it reinforces the idea that people should view all strangers as potential threats.
I also don't think that Parade Magazine-style happy helmet reporting does anybody any good either. But why should I bother to cover crime stories when there are so many other places where people can get all-you-can-stomach crime stories 24/7? Anyone who wants to enjoy a good horror show can turn to one of the many if it bleeds, it leads local TV news stations, or just click over to the deeply flawed Megan's Law website if you're craving a nice paranoia-inducing jolt.
My editorial policy is this: If a story doesn't either (a) increase your capacity for self-governance, (b) enhance your sense that you live in a real community, populated by real people who live interesting lives, (c) make someone, somewhere, laugh or (d) let you know about a good place to eat, then I'm just not going to bother.