Murders and Comfort



This is the latest from C. B. Forgotston:

The New Orleans Police Department, while being unable to address the ever-rising murder rate in New Orleans, periodically offers public statements to assure the citizens that they are not really in any danger.

That was then

This summer, after a murder of a 54-year old engineer who was returning from work to his home in New Orleans, NOPD spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse said: “I think people can take some comfort in knowing that it was a random act of violence….”

This is now

On Christmas night at one location in the city, 6 individuals were shot and two died at the scene. The NOPD made the following statement, apparently in an effort to offer comfort to the public:

[T]he shooting "is not believed to be a random act of violence," meaning at least one of the victims was targeted. Times Picayune, December 27, 2007.

What does it mean?

I'm confused, but then I'm no expert on policespeak.

The fact that a murder was a random of act of violence is supposed to be comforting.

The fact that a murder was not a random act of violence apparently is supposed to be comforting.

So, random and non-random murders are comforting. What type of murders should make the citizens uncomfortable?

Clancy's Answer: The kind of murder that should make us all feel uncomfortable is one that does not keep the New Orleans brand out there. Mayor Ray Nagin will let us know when such a murder occurs.

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