Murder Is Easy, So How Do We Stop Wanton Violence?

Every homicide needs to be solved. Clarifying what happened provides some sense of closure and it makes each tragedy less powerful. A noble reason local news outlets don’t often go into depth (besides the fact that following a case through takes a lot of time) is the idea that publicizing murder inspires new violence. Combine this sensibility with the “if it bleeds it leads” click-bait mentality, and media inspired by murder becomes flippant and unhelpful.

It’s grim to give a death more time than (for example) a local basketball game or a food pantry. Good news is valuable, but these tragedies are not news. They are complex stories with clear beginnings and clear endings (preferably in court rooms). Dwelling on unsolved cases opens inquiry to the communities effected, and it also reminds killers that these crimes are not forgotten.

Posts on this site evolve with time. They start small, because the goal is to create as many public cold case files as possible. With the engagement of those directly effected, these files can grow to include vlogs and oral histories, memories about the victims and other details that might help to identify killers. The ambition is to map all of the murders that occurred in Boston between 1970 and now, but no case is too old or too odd to explore.

The first entry on this site, for Crispus Attucks and his compatriots, acknowledges the complexity of this task. Not every case is solved satisfactorily. Sometimes the official narrative can seem suspiciously convenient. Still, records matter, and often it is possible to parse out some semblance of historical truth. This will take time, years. The hope is that a public database of case files will discourage future murders, and generate public discourse on trauma recovery.