Amendment Fair Comment and Criticism, blog post by John Hoff
Same Facts, Different Narratives
At this moment, there are at least two, possibly three, red hot public narratives happening in regard to the tragic February 14 fire which claimed the lives of 5 out of 7 siblings at 2818 Colfax Ave. N.
Oh, The Humanity!
The first narrative talks about the terrible tragedy, urges help for the survivors, but ignores or angrily minimizes certain uncomfortable facts which don't conveniently fit with the soap opera mass media story of innocent, tragic, blameless victims of cruel, hard fate. Call it the "mainstream media narrative."
This Pollyanna tale spun itself upon about 200 media outlets all across the nation before anybody dug very deeply into facts beyond the immediate scene of the fire. Some have even described the father, Troy Lewis, as a "former Marine" who was "wounded" in "Desert Storm." If there is a shred of proof, such as a picture of Troy in uniform or military discharge papers, I haven't seen THAT proof as part of THAT narrative.
Oh, and the slumlord should be held responsible.
That, in summary, is the first narrative.
An Inconvenient Truth, Well, A Number Of Them
The second narrative (call it the Johnny Northside narrative, though it is bigger than this blog) acknowledges there was a tragedy, and realizes the children need help, but includes uncomfortable facts in its telling of the tale. Chief among these facts and first aired on this blog is the icky, uncomfortable knowledge Troy Lewis, the tragic father who lost five children, is a registered sex offender...
...convicted in Illinois of rape, deviate sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and failing to report a change of address. http://www.isp.state.il.us/sor/sor.cfm
Illinois Adult Sex Offender
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The second narrative urges caution with anybody who claims to be fundraising, because hardly a death happens in our neighborhood without bad actors trying to set up a bank account and use the sad tale to squeeze out donations, frequently in direct competition with good actors.
Will all the donations go where needed? Will the donations help? Will there even be bookkeeping and auditing of the donations?
The most uncomfortable questions of all would be: What was a registered sex offender doing, all by himself, in charge of seven small children when court records show he had "mild dementia" and wouldn't those kids now be a lot better off in foster care? Wow, seven small children...the public assistance money must have been flowing like tap water, even though the city was getting ready to shut off the tap water at that address. I wonder if the money was being used responsibly or...
Or if it was kind of a party?
What Other Facts Are Out There?
The second narrative examines the facts coming forth in the mass media but awaits the final verdict of fire investigators. Yes, Troy Lewis says there were non-working baseboard heaters and he used a space heater to stay warm. But anything could turn up in the investigation including a scorched bong, melted crack pipe, or even a plastic toy jammed in the ashy remains of a space heater. As for honorable military service, this blogger would like to examine proof before pronouncing this rapist a war hero or even a former soldier.
Oh, and the slumlord should be held responsible, if those baseboard heaters weren't working and that family had to use a dangerous space heater. That's the second narrative, which sees the world in shades of gray not a black-and-white world of good victims, evil slumlords, and facts assumed to be certain just because those facts have been aired in the media.
The "Also Ran" Third Narrative
There is probably a third narrative which goes like this: Don't hold the poor landlord responsible and quit calling him a slumlord.
Yeah, whatever. But there's certainly a third narrative just like there's a guy who calls himself a pirate who ran for Mayor of Minneapolis.
Purported "Facts" Aired In Facebook Forums, OMG
Now more purported "facts" are being aired in North Talk Facebook forum by somebody calling herself Luv'dbydabest Hated Bydarest, here shortened to "Luvdby." Her image is at the top of this blog posting but her legal name is unknown to this blogger. Luvdby says as follows:
Luvd'bydabest Hated Bydarest I Kno The Fuckin Family Personally... They Used To Live Next Door To Me.... The Father Is A Level 3 Sex Offender... My Mother Has A Restraining Order On him Right Now For Peeping in Our Window At My Lil And Her And The Neighbors House While Touching Himself...... My Mother And I Watched His Sick Wife, Who Was Very Sweet, Jump Through Hoops For Everyone While He Was Trying To Off His Self By Taking All Her Heart Medication And All His Pain Pills At Once....
Ive Seen The Paramedics Carry Him Out On Numerous Occasions While In Convulsions After Admittedly Trying To Kill Himself In Front Of The Children..... Smh YES PLZ HELP THOSE CHILDREN..... IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE.... THEY WILL NEED ALL YOUR PRAYERS.... BECAUSE HE IS AN ATTENTION SEEKING PSYCHOPATH.......
I HAVE THE ORIGINALS TO THESE CASES IM SPEAKING OF... SPREAD THE WORD... HELP THE CHILDREN AND NOT TROY LEWIS..... HE IS NO UPSTANDING MAN OF THE COMMUNITY... HE IS VERY DANGEROUS AND VERY AFFLICTED AND BE CAREFUL IN YOUR DEALINGS WITH HIM.... 4 hours ago · Like · 2
(Paragraph breaks added by JNS blog, you're welcome)
In response to a proponent of the "first narrative" who said she was "confused" why any of that "mattered" at this time, (oh, it's so very confusing why people would care about small children in the custody of a sex offender when five of their siblings died under his care, so CONFUSING) Luvdby wrote as follows:
Like I Said ... UR Right In Helping The family.... They Need It.... But Be Aware Of Anything That May Be Helpful In Dealing With him... And It Is Fact.... I Got Hospital Records, Diagnoses, Statements From My Whole Neighborhood.... If you Dont Like What I have To Say Thats Fine.... Idgaf.... Im Doing My Part As A Woman To Inform You That Hes Not A Lil Dangerous But A Lot.... Apparently Your The Type That Knows It All and Is Offended By Friendly Advice.... No Offense.... Dont Get Me Wrong Tho.... U Make Excellent Points.... BY All Means Do Your Christianly Duties.... I Can Understand That Completely.... Just Beware.... Goodness.... 4 hours ago · Like · 1
Separately, on North Vent Facebook forum, a woman named Jennifer Bell wrote a number of factual allegations which this blog can't confirm, including asserting that Troy Lewis was a "child rapist." However, the Illinois website says "victim over 18." Then again, Illinois lists three separate convictions. Having pointed out these "facts" thrown around by Jennifer Bell seem to run counter to other known facts, (albeit not a very deep layer of facts, just a summary on an Illinois Corrections website) I will tell readers that Jennifer Bell said as follows:
...you need to google out of state and a little harder! We don't want FACTS in this community, we would rather stayed mired in our own dysfunction and never ask the hard questions. Here are the FACTS. These children are in the hands of GOD so there is nothing you can do for them. Anything you do now is for YOU to feel good or others to feel good about themselves. FACT, there are two children who, if God willing pull through will need things. The questions is WHAT to they need? What are you willing to do to HELP them? Clothes and toys. FACTS! That you can verify by a simple Google or Henn Cty and Chicago online search in FIVE minutes.
Troy is a convicted CHILD RAPIST. TROY was in jail here THIS summer for failure to register when he came here from Chicago as a CHILD rapist. FACT he had control of seven little children as a CHILD Rapist. FACT their 31 year old Mother died a few months ago and the NEW girlfriend moved out last week-end. FACT he has physical disabilities, AND dementia and likes younger women, girls. You want to do something for the children DO something that matters.... You want us to make it easier for him to take them home? Clearly one week without a female in the house to take care of them and LOOK what happened FACT go read what a neighbor posted on north talk about what he did to her family.
JNS blog here again...
In response to Jennifer Bell's statement that North Minneapolis doesn't want facts but would rather stay mired in its own dysfunction rather than ask the hard questions, I posted a link to YouTube and told Bell this was a musical tribute to her commentary, as follows:
What happened at 2818 Colfax Ave. N., to the extent we even KNOW, is awful and sickening. These facts (as well as allegations and speculations) are awful. But this blogger believes Truth, unvarnished and awful though it may be, is the best disinfectant for whatever ails our neighborhood. Whatever additional facts come my way, I will air and publish. I really have no choice in the matter...
Blogger On His Butt Versus Satellites In Space
Because the mainstream media have utterly failed us. They have failed to make full and deep inquiries when and where urgently needed, and left us with a sweet but poisoned narrative about tragic victims in North Minneapolis. A blogger on his butt can dig this stuff up using Google, but media standing on the street in front of a scorched duplex with television news vans hooked to orbiting satellites in space can't figure out the father is a sex offender? And there might be some more really dodgy, really ugly facts out there?
Why does the media shortchange our neighborhood in this way? I guess because a soap opera of innocent, righteous victims (a war hero, even!) is far more entertaining to the masses than uncomfortable yet highly relevant facts about the ugly situation in that tragic duplex.
But as long as readers keep reading...
JNS blog will keep digging.