Havana Sundaes: Truth in media

Truth in media is an oxymoron by definition and it saddens me and outrages me that this is a global epidemic. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a journalist and report on all the hard hitting stories of the world and expose the bad guys.  Something changed though and I remember when it did.  It was mother’s day 2002, as we continued to grieve over my brother’s murder.  My Mom sat down with the Florida Times Union and interviewed on losing her special Mother’s Day baby and how this holiday would never be the same.  When the article was published later that week it instead was a cautionary tale on how you should pick up on your child’s thug activity before it results in violence, murder, and dismemberment as it had for my brother.

I was angry and bitter a long time after that because they had chopped and remixed my mother’s words into something hurtful and unhelpful to my brother’s case. This article was the death knell in my brother’s case. After only 4 months it was cold cased.  His closest associates were never even questioned and despite other suspicious activity from individuals arrest were never made. It was also the driving force on me deciding to “give up” on writing as a career and to pursue nursing.  We wanted to inspire guilt, a mother’s pain of loss, and a call for the community to act.  We needed to breathe life into the murder case and get the streets talking. What this “reporter” did instead was place blame on my mother, a single parent’s lap, for my brother’s murder, and dismiss our family’s pain of loss for a common thug that would have ended up in prison anyway.  My brother’s murder remains unsolved as we quickly approach it’s 13 year anniversary.

The truth is this: My brother sold dope for the last year of his life.  Not of Nino Brown quantities, he was a foot soldier.  He also didn’t have the heart for it because often he would refuse sale to people he knew had children or that had stolen payment from family.  He also would take IOU’s and speak to his customers about quitting and the love of God being forgiving, patient, and strong enough to conquer their demons.  In fact, the lead suspect is a schizophrenic biker that was deep into debt with others and my brother was the only dealer bad enough at his job to actually meet this guy at his house and serve to him.

The level of violence in my brother’s murder is not that of the streets.  It should be a cause for concern that within the city limits of Jacksonville, in Arlington, someone was able to in broad daylight shoot a 6 feet tall 230 pound 20 year old BOY in the back of his head at close range then drag him somewhere (requiring help so SOMEONE knows besides his murderer) and dismember him.  My brother’s car was never found and he was transported to a finger creek a few miles from the zoo, also a popular biker area, where he was never supposed to be seen again.  This story should have rocked our area and the community should not have rested until an arrest was made because somewhere out there is a MONSTER and that monster could and probably has struck again in more than a decade since my brother’s murder but there is no justice for a thug and this MONSTER was doing the world a favor by robbing my brother of life as well as dignity in death.  The very picture above is an arrest picture for joy riding in a stolen car taken two years prior to his death.  They never even asked my mother for a decent picture and the wheel of justice was established years after my brother’s murder.

So, don’t ask me how I feel about Brian William’s downfall as a result of exaggerations made about the Iraq War.  No, I do not think it is okay and yes, I hold journalist at a higher moral standard as our politicians.  I hope that this trend is lasting and we expose many more “story tellers” masquerading as bare knuckle reporters.  It is long past due.  It is time we demand truth above sensationalism.  That’s what novels are for.  Journalism is a long dead art these days and while you may not see my point of comparison between a local murder and the Iraq War or let’s say the true face of Cuba, there is a common thread.  We tout America is better because we are the land of the free and the citizens have free thought but do we really when our “truths” are so convoluted with popular opinion and self gratifying reporting?  Yes, they are force fed the opinion of their leader in my love’s homeland but I have found in general they have more of a handle on free thought than those of us that have the opportunity but are blinded by public consensus.

What a sad world we live in where TMZ is a reliable news source for anything and after nearly a month we can’t even get the “real deal” on whether Bobbi Kristina, a pop star’s daughter is being sustained on life support or recovering to enjoy the rest of her life slowly but surely.

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