For some people who read about the death of 16-year-old Derrion Albert or watch the video of the brutal beating that killed him, the story will be just that: A senseless, shocking, tragic thing. For others, it appears, Albert's death is just one more bit of ammunition in their own political battles.
Matt Drudge, for one, has been focusing pretty heavily on Chicago-area stories like the beating for the past couple days. That doesn't appear coincidental, as the timing lines up pretty neatly with the announcement that President Obama will travel to Denmark this week to lobby for the city's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Granted, Drudge tends to like this kind of story anyway, but the banner headline this one got, and the sheer length of time that it remained the top story on his site seems to hint at some additional motive.
Blogger Michelle Malkin got closer to stating that motive explicitly, writing in one post headlined "Chicago's teen violence epidemic":
Community organizing has not stopped Chicago’s teen violence epidemic. The Olympics will not solve this long-festering problem, either .... The Atlantic has a brief, but devastating piece on how business at one funeral home in Chicago is booming as a result of out-of-control violence in the city’s schools and neighborhoods.
Flying to Copenhagen isn’t helping.
There is of course a legitimate argument here: The hype about the benefits things like the Olympics and publicly funded stadiums will bring to cities is often unjustified, and money that goes in that direction might be better spent elsewhere. But it's hard not to see some of Obama's opponents as caring much more about this issue now than they might otherwise.
Fox News' Glenn Beck didn't need to bring in the Olympics to the degree that Malkin did in order to tie the beating to Obama. On his show Tuesday afternoon, according to an advance transcript that fans receive by e-mail, he had this to say:
I find the video of these kids beating people to death with railroad ties incomprehensible. Absolutely and totally incomprehensible. I don't even begin to understand a world where that is going on, in America. Is that capitalism that's done that to you? What is our society turning into? Last week I told you about the indoctrination videos that were going on. I don't, I don't get it. We are blaming, we're blaming our country's ills on capitalism .... But their solution is to take away the stuff. No, that just makes poor empty people. We have replaced God with stuff. That's the problem. There is no right or wrong anymore. I don't even, I don't even know what anything means anymore. I don't understand how do you know that the New York Times just hired somebody to watch Fox News? They just hired somebody to watch Fox, to watch my program, to listen to talk radio because they're missing too much. The editor of the New York Times says it's been a year since he's even looked at the Drudge Report. You want to talk about out of touch. How do you suspect a society to know what the difference between right and wrong is when you have people running ACORN that have people walk in and say, I want to have 13 year old slaves, El Salvadoran slaves, 13 years old. I'm going to sell them into the sex slave trade. And they're okay with it. Who am I to judge? Who are you to judge? How about a human being? How do you expect a people to prosper? See, the thing that our founders knew, that everybody wants to deny, is that freedom only works when you have self restraint.
You watch this video, there was no one, there was no one seemingly trying to stop this. You're picking up a railroad tie and beating someone to death. There was no one that thought this was wrong? You know the worst part of the video is you'll see at the end of the video click on it on Drudge. You'll see at the end of the video, you see a girl walking in as they carry the dead boy. They drag his dead body into this building. They're all just casually walking in. Now, watch her as she walks back out. Look as she walks back out. She's not crying. She's not upset. This isn't something that is crazy in her world. If my daughters would have seen somebody beaten to death with a railroad tie, they wouldn't casually walk out! Is this capitalism that has done this? Or is this corruption? Corruption of the political system, corruption of the judicial system, corruption of the educational system, corruption of the very soul. Or is this just that we need the Olympics in Chicago, or is this just that we don't have enough social justice? Or is this that we're just using all of the Earth's resources? Or is this that we don't have cap and trade? Or is this just because they don't have frickin' healthcare? Which is it? You tell me. Don't you see? Our country is sick. And the medicine that they are trying to give us is going to kill the patient. This country is a good country. The people are good. Republicans, Democrats, they're good. We have just gone astray. And because this country has been such a powerful tool in the hands of good. Good never fades away. When there is something powerful, a powerful tool, that tool is used for powerful good, and it never goes away. If it's left, bad picks that tool up and it becomes a powerful tool for bad. Don't you see? If we don't stand up, if we don't not stand up from our couch but stand up from after being on our knees, if we don't stand up and do the right thing, our country's not going to disappear. It is going to become a powerful force for bad, a powerful force for evil. Look what's happening in the world. As we decay, all these forces that people laugh about because communism was beaten, was it Castro wasn't. Chavez seems to be doing pretty well. Russia just transformed. They are not free. That's as free as the Russian people can handle.
Beck might want to look up one of the most famous crime stories in U.S. history, the 1964 stabbing of Kitty Genovese. The story has been disputed, but it remains a classic case study about human nature: If initial reports are to be believed, 38 people "watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens." (The number has been revised down to a dozen, and it's not clear that all of them saw or heard all of the murder.)