Last weekend, The New York Times suggested that violence is an infection -- something you catch like herpes or "Two and a Half Men." It made me so sick to my stomach, I wanted to stab a shopkeeper in the neck.
The writer focused only on gang crime -- as opposed to other types, like shoplifting or houseboy dismemberment — suggesting that if gang murder spreads like an infectious disease, then it should be treated like one.
If only there was a single word that describes this idea. Oh wait, there is: "poopy."
See, I wonder, if the crime were white collar or corporate in nature, would The Times call it a disease? After all, many feel that corporations like Enron are just as evil as the Crips. But The Times would never call that a disease because such a pronouncement would excuse its perpetrators — which are rich white men. And The Times would never do such a thing.
But The Times can't blame gang members for gang crime, for in their eyes, personal responsibility only applies to whites. By implying that gang members are victims of a disease, it's no longer their fault. They are simply helpless patients, like people with AIDS or malaria. Violent behavior is just a virus that makes you shoot people while wearing really baggy pants.
As much as I hate this kind of thinking, I do believe the paper is onto something. There is a disease, but it afflicts writers at The Times. It renders them incapable of recognizing evil when it presents itself, whether it's terror or street criminals. The disease causes its victims instead to fiddle around for root causes and silly theories.
No wonder the paper is on its death bed. Where's Dr. Kevorkian when you need him?