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Dori: Why can’t the media be real about the Central District shooting?

Crime scene tape outside of Swedish Cherry Hill's ER entrance, following a Friday afternoon shooting. (Alison Grande, KIRO 7 TV)

It’s so sad that a 19-year-old young man, Royale Lexing, has died as a result of the Central District shooting on Friday.

But as I was watching the coverage, I noticed that instead of looking for the truth of what happened, much of the media seems more focused on telling a fantasy.

We have been so consumed with forces of political correctness that people feel they cannot tell the truth — yes, including the media. To get to solutions, you have to deal from a baseline of reality. But we seem to have a remarkable way of not doing that in our region.

So many of the headlines and news angles over the weekend seemed to be about how Royale Lexing’s mother was devastated and said her son had no connections to gangs. I understand that she’s grieving. She is going through the greatest nightmare a parent can endure. But her words don’t seem to be reality. I found his Facebook page, and he certainly seems to be flashing gang signs in pictures, with one photo even captioned, “gang [expletive].”

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The Central District shooting is not the first time tragedy has touched this family. A few years ago, a 1-year-old girl in Kent was killed in a drive-by shooting when another driver opened fire on her parents’ car.

That girl was the niece of Royale Lexing.

If 1-year-olds are getting hit in a drive-by because shooters are aiming for their parents, then there probably is some activity going on that is putting them in precarious situations.

Just as we can’t discuss the citizenship status of people who kill cops, we can’t talk about the contributing factor of gang warfare when kids are killed on the street. But that’s what’s happening here, and it must be acknowledged. It has to be part of the conversation.

Of course a grieving parent will give the best possible picture of her son. But a quick look at his Facebook page shows a little different image. It’s not hard to draw conclusions. And it’s up to us in the media to present reality, not a politically-correct idealized version.

This has to stop from inside the community. There are a lot of kids running around who have had no fatherly influence in their lives. And these are the kids who are the most lost, who turn to gangs as family.

As Community Passageways founder Dominique Davis told us, when one parent is absent, then the other has to work constantly to put food on the table, leaving the kids to be raised by the streets. We don’t know if that was this kid’s story, but we do know that if the street becomes their father, that’s where they learn warped values.

All I ask of the media is, present the stories with compassion for the grieving family members, of course — but present them with some nuggets of truth as well. The streets are really ugly around here right now. Drugs are rampant and gangs are helping to fuel the drugs that have taken over our streets.

You’ve got to start telling these stories openly and honestly, not portraying some idealized fantasy of what somebody wanted this kid’s life to be. These aren’t random deaths.

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