An Experiement In Article Versus Video

I was surfing around my news sites when I came across this story about two teenagers in Honduras. It was tragic from the beginning. Both lived with their families in poverty scavenging for a few dollars a day.

They soon discover stealing is much more profitable than any legal work they could find:

Edwin Mejia didn't want to go out and steal that morning.

The $75 he and his buddy had made the day before from the stolen motorcycle felt like a fortune compared to the $5 a day he earned selling his mother's tortillas. The 15-year-old lay in bed inside the wooden one-room house he shared with his 10 brothers and sisters and told his partner, Eduardo Aguilera, that he wasn't in the mood. [...]

Honduras never developed the democratic institutions that would guarantee a rule of law. Instead, it is a largely lawless land where there are few choices for the poor, heroes are scarce, and violence is a given.

I knew as soon as I started reading this article was written to invoke sympathy for criminals more than for the victim. Sure, there are a few mentions that the victim was also struggling to provide for his family, but the entire gist of the story was about the struggling poor reluctantly turning to lawlessness and their subsequent mistreatment within the Honduras judicial system.

What came next would last four hours.

The two teenagers, visibly nervous, ditched the bike and started running in the middle of a five-lane highway, desperately trying to stop anyone to give them a ride. They ran past a Clarion Hotel, a Burger King and a McDonald's. At one point, traffic video caught them trying to jump a moving bus, pointing their gun at the driver, who did not stop. [...]

Two policemen finally caught the boys in a parking lot near the Marriott Hotel, in the same block as the presidential palace.

Police won't say what happened next, but according to public prosecutor Alexis Santos, 40, the police officers started beating both the boys, focusing on Eduardo, whom they thought had fired the gun.

I admit, the story slant got me. While I sympathized with the young police officer who lost his life, I also felt sympathy for these two teenagers, who found themselves caught up in a life and death struggle after making a series of bad decisions.

After all, how many of us also made bad choices as a teen? Not to the extreme of killing someone, but poor decisions that might have spiraled beyond our control in a world more violent than our own?

And Edwin didn't even want to be there that day. The article tells me that in the very first line. He was just trying to survive in a harsh world.

A few biased accounts and a liberal media easily sways the mind and manipulates the point of view. Notice the article refers to the teens by their first names, but to the victim by the last name. That isn't an accident. First names humanize and make it more personal. Last names are more detached.

Since the article mentions a viral video of the incident, I knew that only viewing that video would expose the true measure of severity of the crime committed by those impoverished teens, without invoking any emotions of the reporter. Only seeing the victim in life, rather than a secondary character on an internet page, would capture the horror of the crime committed.

The viral video was noticeably excluded from the AP's "Big Story" about the crime. So I did a little digging and found it. It is posted below the fold.

Your assignment: Read the linked story. Think about how you feel about the two teenage criminals AP wants you to view as victims. Then watch the video. Do you feel the same? Discuss in comments.

UPDATE: A somewhat related post I did a couple of weeks ago, only this one has a happy ending. The teens in the story above were trying to commit a similar crime:

Crime P0rn: Live By The Gun...

UPDATE II: Found another case with a happy ending. (Warning: Graphic)

Posted by: DMartyr at 11:01 AM


1 I have no sympathy with these two boys. The third paragraph of the article states:

"From yesterday's take, their first job, Edwin could buy a cellphone. If they did the same today, maybe Edwin could buy himself some sneakers. White Nikes were a favorite with the 18th Street gang members."

If he had stolen the money to feed the family or to pay a debt, I would have had some sympathy, but these boys didn't give a shit about their family or their poor relatives. They were full of greed and wanted to buy mobile phones and sneakers for themselves.

I felt sorry for the police officer, whose living condition was not much different from the two boys according to the article. He didn't go murder and rob motorbikes, because he was poor. He set an example by doing a job to earn a decent living to show to his son, that crime should not be the option to earn money, irrespective of wealth.

I don't agree with the boy getting beaten up until he was dead. That's extreme, but unfortunately in third world countries, these things are common. It's not right, but one person can't change it overnight. It takes years and sometimes it can't be achieved.

The moral of the story, crime doesn't pay, unless you are rich or a politician in a third world country. Otherwise you'll might as end up as walking dead. !!

Posted by: Birbal Dhar at December 30, 2013 12:16 PM

2 Victims? You've got to be kidding me. The policeman was shot in cold blood. Both of them tried to shoot him--one succeeded. The only victim here is a dead police officer and the family he left behind.

Poverty is indeed tragic, but most do not make the decisions those two boys made. Nothing...NOTHING excuses what those two did to that officer.

Posted by: Whiskey Bravo at December 30, 2013 12:25 PM

3 And by the way, nicely put, Birbal Dhar.

Posted by: Whiskey Bravo at December 30, 2013 12:27 PM

4 I'm just a little disappointed they didn't beat the other 'kid' to death too.

Posted by: some guy at December 30, 2013 01:23 PM

5 Working is much better. It pays $5 and you get to live.
"Thou shalt not steal" is pretty easy to understand.

Poor boys were so very poor they could only afford guns and motorcycles. Fuck them.

Posted by: Storm Saxon's Gall Bladder at December 30, 2013 04:27 PM

6 Update II, that is some nice shooting man, got the lot of them. And looking at the left arm of the one that lived, in one of those shots, I'm pretty sure that 40 cal smashed the bone to pieces around the bicep. Bad part is he will be a drain on the public health system I suppose, unlike his friends.

Posted by: The Realist of Qld at December 30, 2013 04:44 PM

7 I still don't understand what the article had to do with the video. They were about two completely different events.

Posted by: Storm Saxon's Gall Bladder at December 30, 2013 09:45 PM

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