Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Death of an editor.

There are some stories that are important, but I'd probably not comment on them for the matter of more pressing news, if I didn't think I had to comment on them.

But when people are shot dead for what they have written, it is time to spread what they have written far and wide.

Last Thursday, journalist Chauncey Bailey was murdered by a gunman in Oakland in what police are calling 'an assassination.' A 19-year old man was later arrested for Bailey's murder.

The suspect is a member of the black muslim community in Oakland.

A couple of years ago, Bailey, a top notch investigative reporter began investigating a series of crimes that occurred at local liquor stores, in which groups of well-dressed young men did their best Carrie Nation imitation and went into liquor stores and destroyed bottles of booze. Alcohol has certainly been the cause of a great deal of misery in Oakland, as it has been everywhere else, but of course it is specifically protected by the 21st amendment to the Constitution (the only drug to be so protected.) But what Bailey was investigating was a crime, pure and simple. It led him to Oakland's black muslim community (no surprise there). Bailey discovered that it is run by one man, Yusuf Bey and that he runs it from a bakery. Still not much of a surprise as that information was widely known before Bailey's articles came out.

But then he reached higher, and dicsovered that Bey had cultivated a culture based on violence (see for example Bailey's own work, The sinister side of Yusuf Bey's empire) and that he had reached up into the ears of state and local government officials. This clearly was a crime, and Bailey reported it. He even named names.

And that made Bailey a marked man. There are those who would prefer that journalists not write about them. A prime example is the zetas, who have already killed a number of Mexican journalists and even forced entire newspapers to shut down for daring to print their names. So Bailey met this same fate last Thursday, being cut down on his way to work. Police later arrested a 19 year old follower of Bey and charged him with the murder.

And that is why I have linked to one of Bailey's articles in the post. The best way to deter future such murders is to give it more press play than his work would have otherwise gotten.

No comments: