Thursday, November 08, 2007

An Update on the Bad Guy in Town

An update on last Friday's "episode" in Needham: (click here for a reminder of what happened. It turns out that the town did a good job responding to a really difficult situation, but a visitor to Needham got "caught in the crossfire" (literally) and some restaurant employees thought he was the suspect in the killing (he wasn't). They over-reacted, and the poor guy didn't even realize that the police were outside, guns cocked, and pointed at HIM! There was an interested editorial in the Globe today, and I found this line ironic:
Neuer (the visitor/suspect), 37, "was acting very weird," an employee said on the 911 tape. Apparently, there's a low bar for weirdness in Needham: Neuer repeatedly asked for a cab, changed into a suit in the restroom, and went to a CVS store next door without finishing his pizza. He also talked a lot into his cellphone.
Well...yes, and no. There probably is a low bar for weird in Needham. But, on the other hand, folks were very afraid with a killer on the lose. Was he acting like a killer trying to escape town? Possibly. Did they over-react? Probably. And should the police have kept him in jail, in the cell next to the real suspect (as was also reported in the paper? Definitely not.

I still think the town acted prudently, and tried to keep folks as safe as possible. What else could they do?

Another interesting point from the editorial:

Of course, Needham police had to pursue every lead to find Moore's attacker. But was live television coverage of the manhunt necessary? If it is legitimate, should Boston residents expect the same when a homicide takes place on their city streets?
I was thinking this myself. Why the live coverage for an hour and a half? Stuff like this happens EVERY DAY in inner-city Boston, and there isn't any live coverage. Unfortunately, there is a double standard. A white suburban town has a murder, and it's news. Inner-city Boston, whose residents are mostly of color, experience murder, and it's same old-same old. This is very sad.

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