Monday, November 26, 2012

CNN Article Covering São Paulo Violence

This article on CNN's website offers a grim overview of the violence that has been plaguing São Paulo. According to the article, there have been almost 1,000 homicides in São Paulo this year, with 100 policemen among those killed. 

Much of the violence has been concentrated in the favelas, and is attributed to the ongoing fighting between the prison gang known as the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital, or First Command of the Capital) and the police. As anyone who has been following this story knows, the nightly death count from the violence is often 10 people or more.  

This CNN item is interesting, as it's one of the first references to this deadly situation that I have seen in the mainstream American press. While we often read about deaths associated with political violence in the Middle East, violence in our own hemisphere goes under-reported....unless, of course, US citizens are somehow involved, in which case it makes the headlines.

But leaving aside all of that, what really intrigued me about this article were the comments left by readers. While some of them were written by people who seem to be reasonably well-informed and had interesting insights, there were a lot of comments that were ignorant and/or mean-spirited. Here are three samples:

"Just burn the favelas to the ground. Nothing good comes out of there."

"Latin America has an out of control crime problem, not sure what it is, must be something in the water."

"Brazil is a GIGANTIC slum."

There's nothing very surprising about this, of course. People seem to feel free to type whatever they want behind the anonymity of their computer monitors, as can be seen from reading the comments below almost any news item posted on Facebook. Still, the level of animosity in some of these comments is disturbing.

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