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Posted by on Aug 6, 2007 in Media | 13 comments

Three Students Lined Up and Murdered Execution Style; A Fourth Student Shot, Survives: Why Isn’t This Top News? Update

CNN reports that two males, 28, and 15 years old are in custody regarding the lining up and execution style murders of three students. A fourth student shot in the head and knifed, Natasha Aeriel, 19, survives in hospital and has been able to speak to police and give information. She is under heavy police guard.

It’s reported that Jose Carranza, 28, of Newark, New Jersey, surrendered to police. He came with his lawyer to turn himself in near 11 pm Wednesday night.

“We put him in handcuffs and we walked the individual into the office. I personally helped the detective to sit him down and I left,” the mayor said. Citizens in Newark have criticized the mayor for diminishing Newark’s high homicide rate.

Ballistics evidence, information from the shooting’s lone survivor and a fingerprint lifted from a beer bottle at the scene led to the major break in a criminal case that has outraged a city numbed by street violence.

An arrest warrant had sought Carranza’s arrest for three counts of murder, a single count of attempted murder, four counts of robbery, conspiracy and weapons offenses.

“We believe that others were involved in this heinous crime. We are looking for them,” Dow said.

The 15-year-old was not identified because of his age, but Dow said she would seek to try him as an adult.

Newark has become accustomed to violence but the slayings on Saturday night touched a nerve.

The four friends, ages 18 to 20, were shot while listening to music at the schoolyard.

Three of them — Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20; and Iofemi Hightower, 20 — were forced to kneel against a wall and were shot in the head, execution style.

My questions in the earlier story were to ask why it seemed this story was not being reported heavily… it took two days to rise to the top of the foam, and even as two suspects are in custody today, it appears there are no big satellite trucks from all networks and cable news parked on the police station lot, no five thousand mikes being thrust in anyone’s face who comes out of the mayor’s office or police station.

I still ask, what/ who decides how dense, how broad the coverage of kids lined up on their knees and executed.

The surviving witness is brave to give testimony about the alleged murderers, a huge story in itself that is also silenced … It may be that because some murderers are well known to silence witnesses by making very sure they are dead… the second time around…perhaps that is the reason for silence.

But, propriety is not necessarily usual amongst news gatherers. That the prosecutor in Newark is a woman, could also be an interesting story. So could the story of the people’s rage at the mayor be a place to begin fleshing out a story. My point being not to praise or to dun, but to ask, where is the story, the whole story… and why is it taking so long to tell it?


Here is the previous article asking why it took the big media two to four days to either mention or else put the story on their front page even for a few hours.

I’d add one more question, in the article above written by CNN, the phrase in bold, “Newark has become accustomed to violence but the slayings on Saturday night touched a nerve.” You know me, insert your own fiery cuss word here.

Meanwhile, today, four days after these murders, news readers and reporters are talking about Plastic bottles on CNN, and that’s there’s a heat wave and how to enjoy the shade, are the momentary stories on Fox and MSNBC


Slayings outrage Newark
While Newark has seen 60 homicides this year, the schoolyard killings stood out because the victims, by all accounts, were good kids. All four were enrolled at Delaware State University or were in the process of enrolling.

James Harvey, Dashon’s father, described his son Monday as “a good, good student, college student.”

“For him to be killed on the streets of Newark needlessly is very unacceptable,” he said at a news conference.

“They’re out here hurting innocent kids,” he added. “Innocent people are dying needlessly, unnecessarily and for what? For what? This to has to stop. “Today, three young lives were extinguished; kids set for college. A fourth young person was shot and is in critical condition. The three were lined up and shot execution style. I don’t understand why this story isn’t suddenly 24/7 news on CNN, Fox, MSNBC. It isn’t.

Tucker is currently joking about frogs and the French. Fox is reporting on 6 miners trapped underground in Utah (may they be kept safe, all). Wolf on CNN is about to talk about sex and scandal in politics.

Is it only if murders happen inside a school, that it is long runner news? Is it only if more than three are killed at a time? Is it only if the children are under a certain age? How much ‘mass’ does there have to be for slaughter of the young to be considered “mass murder,” mass-acre… that word that seems to hold news above the drowning line?

What are the factors that bring one story forward while another nearly identical, lags far behind. Everyone knows the Scott Peterson case, but few know about a case, at the same time, farther along the California coast of another pregnant wife who was murdered ‘by sea’ whose husband was also the prime suspect.

How does big media really choose which stories to colonize us with? Or does the story somehow colonize the editors?

The murders of the students occurred Saturday. The news was reported by AP today, Monday.

Four College Friends Shot in New Jersey
NEWARK, N.J. (Aug. 6) – Three friends were forced to kneel against a wall behind an elementary school and were shot to death at close range, and a fourth was found about 30 feet away with gunshot and knife wounds to her head, police said.

All were from Newark and planned to attend Delaware State University this fall.

Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow said authorities didn’t have any suspects or a motive in the killings late Saturday. None of the victims had any criminal record, she said.

“They were good kids,” Dow said.

The four had been listening to music in a parking lot behind Mount Vernon School when they were gradually joined by a group of men, authorities said.

Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy said the four exchanged text messages saying they should leave, but were attacked before they could do so.

Police said the attackers shot one young woman, then forced her three companions down an alley, lined them up against a wall, made them kneel and shot each in the head.

Natasha Aerial, 19, was listed in fair condition at Newark’s University Hospital, authorities said. Police identified her companions as her brother, Terrance Aerial, 18, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon Harvey, 20.

The Aerials’ mother, Renee Tucker, said the last time she saw them was around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, when they told her they were going around the corner to get something to eat. “They said they were going to come right back to the house,” Tucker said.

Hightower was a motivated student who had recently enrolled at Delaware State, according to her great-uncle John McClain.

“She was one of the most beautiful ladies you’d ever want to meet,” McClain said. “Very smart, very intelligent. She wanted to be something in life.”

In the wake of the killings, Mayor Cory A. Booker’s administration was again hearing from residents angry about the city’s homicide rate.

“He doesn’t deserve another day, another second, while our children are at stake,” said Donna Jackson, president of Take Back Our Streets, a community-based organization. “Anyone who has children in the city is in panic mode.”

Booker’s office didn’t return a call for comment on Monday.

…. there have been 17 slayings in the eight weeks since June 12.

At Delaware State, officials said the school plans to hold a memorial service Aug. 28, after the student body returns for the fall semester.

“While the murder of the two students is a terribly loss in human terms, the facts that they were a part of the DSU family and were striving to earn a degree, create a bright future for themselves and become a solid contributors to society, makes this violent act especially tragic and senseless,” university President Allen Sessoms said.

Hightower and the Aeriels had been friends since elementary school and played in the marching band at West Side High School. Terrance Aeriel, known as T.J., took Hightower to the school prom in 2006, chauffeured by his sister.

At Delaware State they met Harvey, another musician, and struck up a friendship. Friends and family members said the four were not involved in drinking, drugs or gangs.

They liked to congregate at the school, which sits in a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the campus of Seton Hall University, to hang out and listen to music.

Harvey’s father, James, said Monday the parents of the assailants were to blame.

“If you raised your kids better, this would not happen,” he said.

Hightower who worked two jobs and recently enrolled at the school. One of her jobs was at Brighton Gardens, an assisted living center in nearby West Orange, where her mother also worked.

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  • No Peace Without Justice

    Afraid To Expose The Dope Trade

    Kharzai Brings “Latest” Opium News for Bush

    Britain is protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time.
    But the key question is this: what are our servicemen dying for?….Opium Wars.

    Afghanistan was not militarily winnable by the British Empire at the height of its supremacy. It was not winnable by Darius or Alexander, by Shah, Tsar or Great Moghul. It could not be subdued by 240,000 Soviet troops. But what, precisely, are we trying to win?

    There are a number of theories as to why Litvinenko had to flee Russia. The most popular blames his support for the theory that FSB agents planted bombs in Russian apartment blocks to stir up anti-Chechen feeling.

    But the truth is that his discoveries about the heroin trade were what put his life in danger. Litvinenko was working for the KGB in St Petersburg in 2001 and 2002. He became concerned at the vast amounts of heroin coming from Afghanistan, in particular from the fiefdom of the (now) Head of the Afghan armed forces, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, in north and east Afghanistan.

    Dostum is an Uzbek, and the heroin passes over the Friendship Bridge from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, where it is taken over by President Islam Karimov’s people. It is then shipped up the railway line, in bales of cotton, to St Petersburg and Riga.

    The heroin Jeeps run from General Dostum to President Karimov. The UK, United States and Germany have all invested large sums in donating the most sophisticated detection and screening equipment to the Uzbek customs centre at Termez to stop the heroin coming through.

    But the convoys of Jeeps running between Dostum and Karimov are simply waved around the side of the facility.

  • Rudi

    Why does Natalie Holoway merit years of news coverage and this gets no play? MSM caters to “scared white people” and slants stories to that audience. Take a look at these Google searches.
    Results 1 – 10 of about 37 for “paige birgfeld” whore. (0.25 seconds)
    Results 1 – 10 of about 1,250 for “duke stripper” whore. (0.42 seconds)
    No less than Tucker, Savage and Colmes called the stripper a whore. Paige Birgfelf is a “soccer mom” and “mom next door”.
    One was a mixed up cheal stripperwhore.
    The other flew in jets as an escortwhore to maintain a $1,000,000 home she won in a marriage/divorce for money.

  • pacatrue

    My guess would be money and race, making guesses based upon names and location. I hope others have better theories.

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    very interesting theory Rudi, good point
    ‘the scared’ being the target audience… but how would it be that advertisers see ‘the scared’ as their most viable demographic, I wonder?

    the issue you bring up about ‘google’ search by keyword ‘whore’ is fascinating for psychological reasons… hmmm …. I have to give this last more thought….

    pacatrue; good point, and I think your inference is possibly true, just trying to think about what demographic media advertisers are wanting to munch; i think you’re right… ‘pore people’ arent going to buy a Lexus, even though they might like to. I think that’s a really good insight. It may be that your theory fits with Rudi’s… maybe the rich/scared are the Lexus targetees as per ad demos.

    I am not sure about the first comment, maybe it was posted here by error, or maybe it’s code (lol, you know, I analyze dreams, so lots of things seem symbolic sometimes…lol) maybe first poster is trying to say?… media wont put this story high on the news rack cause its drug related to something the USA supports overseas? Now that would be a novel idea, wouldnt it? Ok, just Kidding.

    It appears thus far that we could make a bold case for ADVERTIZERS driving the news in big media instead of newspeople. Hmmm, we ought to analyze this idea… I wonder what would be the quickest and fairest way….

    Rudi? So you think we could look at all three network and all three big news cable channels and somehow list all their adverts? and then scale them by price to consumer, and then see what proportion of the demos of our country can actually afford to purchase same?

    Natalie Holloway; what does that poor child’s story sell, I wonder

    Just thinking out loud with you guys.

  • domajot

    Rudi and Pacatrue, IMO, both point to the target audience explanation, The companies buying advertising and the people favoring sudh a slant to news coverage are also the people who monopolize the power in this country. Money and power groups control what people know and understand via the news.
    The underdog is pretty much doomed to remain the underdog.

    One aspect interests me that is seldom discussed. amd that is the segment of the audience who adopt the slant of the powerful, even when they belong to a group sold short by the pwerful. Maybe they’re indulging in wish fulfillment, like becoming attached to and living imaginary lives through a movie idol?

  • Rudi

    Look at the coverage of terror in the US. A couple of Arabs in a car with cell phones – AQ. A couple of Arabs in a car with explosives/fireworks – AQ. Even the experts on 24/7 cablenews circus push the absurd. Even the Internets is guilty, who many serious pieces on dirty bombs and their feasibility? Not many just keep on scaring the public. Now the IHT is pushing an absurd threat to water and food with nukelear materials. The ArmsControlWonks satirically label it a “ice-cube attack”.

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    I keep hoping strong that there are people at the media desks who are fighting for other kinds of stories to be heard than just
    what the latest celebrittany or frenchfryophile is saying.

    Domajot, I think, yes about pp belonging to another
    class, identifying with the over-class. That was the gist of Spike Lee’s film in which two ‘classes’ of blacks clashed with one another… one seeming more to hold to the over-culture and being like ‘them’… the other group being more ‘of themselves’ ratherh than of the mainstream cultural masher.

    correct Rudi. non-serious stories about serious matters. I can appreciate satire. I appreciate humor. But news that seems like prop, is really not funny, not enlightening, not useful

    I still keep thinking, three young people gone, blown away… a fourth badly injured (shot in the head. Oh my my. ) and right now on CNN they are speaking of ‘Hello Kitty’…and Rudi, on Fox they’re speaking about Birgfeld. And on and on. To be fair, you cant do the same sotry, as about these four young people, all the time. What did I say. Didnt we have t-shirts made: ‘I survived a decade of OJ TV coverage.’

  • pacatrue

    Here’s some thinking outloud, Clarissa. There are of course people who study this stuff and gather actual evidence. I have none of that, but I won’t let it stop me.

    Anyway, my first thought was that if more news managers and editors were black and lived in Newark, they’d have covered it. If true, then we can’t blame the advertizers. It’s not their fault. At the same time, if those same news managers were white and lived on the Upper East side of Manhattan, they would still cover it, if they thought it would increase ratings or advertizing purchases. They probably don’t. For that, we can then blame advertizers and, again, news managers who might be basing news coverage on financial gain or popularity rather than “newworthiness”. But, of course, defining intrinsic “newworthiness” is no self-evident task.

    Or perhaps we should blame ourselves, the people. Will this newstory be picked up by conservative talk radio as something unjustly ignored by the MSM? Probably not, as the most likely lessons from it are a) the collapse of our inner cities b) our inability to provide security within our own nation and c) pervasiveness of guns. Will it be picked up by liberal alternative newspapers to decry it as evidence of censorship by the corporations who control media access? Perhaps, but since no conservatives are clearly to blame, there’s no great push for it.

    Who’s left caring? Us and their families, none of whom are publishers.

  • superdestroyer

    The media reporting on black on black crime falls into the same category as Republicans doing a Youtube Debate, there is no upside for them but a large amount of risks.

    Why shouls the media want to report black-on-black crime. The whites in the suburbs are not interested. The risk of making a misstep are large and the ratings or prestige benefits are very small.

    Also, there are not the normal cues for the elite whites in the MSM to believe that this story is important. There have been no arrest. There is no Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson leading marches or conducing interviews. The is no racial angles to make the story interestng. I guess that since there is no plot element from Bonfire of the Vanities, the whites in the MSM do not know what do to.

    A side question would by why four middle class blacks from Newark ended up going to Delaware St. Is the in state tuition in New Jersey so high and public university prospects so poor that four students from the same neighborhood ended up at a HBU in another state.

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    Pacature; you have the ability to see not two sides, but many. That is a valuable gift top put to good use. “Who’s left caring? Us and their families, none of whom are publishers.” Diogenes comes to mind.
    I’d say there is hope. Your a, b, and c, are the matters that I’d like to see the citizens report on, rather than the media. Imagine that in Newark. I believe we would get somewhere then.

  • pacatrue

    I’d say there is hope. Your a, b, and c, are the matters that I’d like to see the citizens report on, rather than the media. Imagine that in Newark. I believe we would get somewhere then.

    I like this idea. It seems like a very small paper could be created by a small group of volunteer citizens that cover just these issues from an inside perspective. There’d never be great circulation, but it seems a worthwhile idea and important. You know how the micro-loan industry has taken off? This type of project seems appropriate for such a loan.

  • mattbert

    It’s the top story on the CNN website this morning (August 7).

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    yes, thank you mattbert. CNN has put it up this
    morning on their website. The murders occured four
    days ago. I think there might be more coverage soon since the blogs have been covering this story.

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