Horror in Morningside Park: Trying to make sense of the killing of Tessa Majors

by Editorial Team

The murder of 18-year-old Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors, stabbed to death inside Morningside Park, allegedly by a group of teens who were robbing her, has understandably captured the city’s attention.

It is agonizing to absorb the brutal killing of a promising young woman new to the city, who was embracing New York for its seemingly endless possibilities.

So too should it shake the collective conscience that the first two people charged in connection with her killing are 13 and 14 years old. The prospect of an eighth-grader committing a homicide should be unthinkable.

We must also confront fears about Morningside Park itself, which carries a decades-long reputation for dangerousness. It abuts the Columbia and Barnard campuses but, in an oft-divided city, has been considered off-limits to them, as well as to many worried families in Harlem.

This spring and fall in and around the park, cops tracked a series of violent assaults perpetrated by very young teenagers. Morningside, at just 30 acres, had the most robberies of any city park so far this year. It is terribly late to connect such dots.

While mourning Majors’ loss in full, while absorbing the agony of the moment, we must unflinchingly face the fact that sometimes, the murder of an attractive, middle-class white girl draws disproportionate attention. Do not lessen the time spent crying for her; give other losses their due, too.

And it is tempting, at a time when the city has absorbed a series of major criminal-justice reforms, as it stands on the cusp of implementing changes to bail, discovery rules and more, to convert Majors from a victim to a symbol, and to insist that the bad old days are rushing back.

There is no evidence of that. In 1990, the city suffered 2,245 murders. In 2018, the city recorded 277 murders, which have increased 9% to 303 so far this year. With pointed exceptions, most other major categories of crime continue downward trends.

Every loss is an earthquake to the victim’s loved ones. Every loss should be a clarion call to bring swift and sure justice, and to prevent the next one.

Every loss is a lesson.

READ FROM SOURCE: https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-edit-tessa-majors-horror-20191214-tq74wpm7qrci5kpw7nifftagni-story.html

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