Last week I was reflecting on all the newsworthy stories of the spring, when I came upon a stirring conclusion about Detroit. Being strained by both financial and criminal problems, it seems to be falling further into peril with each sunset.
But lately, what ends up being reported from the city and how much airtime each story gets has been subpar at best. I can’t think of a more recent and pertinent example than the carjacking of Pastor Marvin Winans.
On the evening of May 16, Winans, 54, was in route to visit a fellow clergyman, and stopped at a Citgo gas station on the corner of Linwood and West Davison Street. His vehicle was being pumped full of gas when a group of young males, members of The Linwood Boys gang, approached him, proceeded to beat him and promptly left the scene in Winans’ car. The airtime this story received was nothing short of ridiculous.
Astonished newscasters told us with heartfelt sincerity that Pastor Winans had been carjacked, which through some ugly contortion was spun to reflect the depth of Detroit’s crime rate.
In asking around, only one of my friends from Detroit had any idea who Winans is. And it can only be assumed that the group of young males had no idea either. They did, after all, leave his car unscratched under a tarp behind an abandoned house days later, which only further speaks to the power of media. The pastor received preferential treatment.
With all the attention he received one would assume there’d be mentioning of why he was victimized. As a sharp dressed man donning a presidential Rolex and a Louis Vuitton wallet containing hundreds in cash, and the fact that he drove a souped-up 2012 Infiniti QX56 SUV with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $60,000 probably didn’t help. But perhaps it was only the 22-inch tire and and rim package -valued at $2,300 – that caught The Linwood Boys’ eyes.
Denomination aside, there isn’t a yarmulke big enough to hide Winans from this irony. He would have never been carjacked if he’d only followed the law. Like The Linwood Boys who’d been ticketed for loitering the day of the attack, but ignored the law and returned to the Citgo, Winans ignored the law by driving on a suspended license.
Since 2005, the reverend holds a ticket count of 17: one for impeding traffic, four license suspensions and 12 for speeding. Some might label this run-in as divine intervention and some might call it a tragedy.
According to spotcrime.com, Detroit experienced 20 shootings from March 1st through the 15th that received substantially less airtime. This is an example of a horrendous account of the priorities of Detroit media. But tough break Pastor Winans. I guess irony has its place.