Saturday, March 1, 2008

Crime and the rural/urban axis

Stories of rural crime occasionally show up in the national news, and I am not sure why they're there. One appeared this week in the New York Times: "2 Teenagers Are Accused of Torturing Ohio Woman." We're told that the two teens, both with long criminal records, tortured an 18-year-old woman "for at least six hours inside her home in rural southwestern Ohio." We're told that this happened in Hanover township (population 8000), but I'm unclear why the rural setting is mentioned. It may be intended to explain how the acts went undetected for so long, as well as one of the means of torture: "dousing Ms. Clark in the shower and then forcing her to walk barefoot through snow."

I've commented on this media practice before. Maybe it is the sensational or shocking nature of the crime that merits national coverage. Maybe it's "news" because we don't expect this in rural America.

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