Thin Line

John Bear
3 min read
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Albuquerquephobia— As you probably know by now, I have wandered out into the vast southern desert (Alamogordo) and embarked on a magnificent quest to add weight to my rather skimpy résumé. I hope to one day earn more than a crack whore and attain worldwide fame.

But you have to start somewhere.

And here I am. My mother calls me with much frequency. Our conversations sound something like this:

“When are you coming up here [Albuquerque]?” she asks.

“Never. Have you watched the evening news lately? It’s like Mogadishu up there,” I reply, with no hint of irony.

I blame the television news for this new phobia (one of many) I proclaim to suffer from on any given day: Albuquerquephobia.

It is a common malady in these parts. A coworker once told me that she and some of her friends were planning a weekend getaway to the Duke City. I said, “No matter what you do, stay away from Nob Hill. When I was growing up, we used to call it Nob Kill.”

She went to El Paso that weekend.

My meddling aside, it’s true. People are afraid of the city where I am from. Far be it from me to harp on the television news—I am, after all, the resident snitch (police reporter).

But when I write about crime, even a violent one (though you’ve got the south beat when it comes to violent crime), reading about it doesn’t seem to have the same effect on a person’s psyche as seeing it on the screen.

This may be because reading about one crime takes at least two minutes, even a short story. Television allows information on 15 hideous violent crimes to be disseminated in less than a minute.

Not all of them are even necessarily in Albuquerque. Santa Fe seems to have more than one serial rapist. Former revolutionaries get gunned down in Española.

But since it comes from your “Albuquerque News Leader,” or whatever, the impression is that Albuquerque is as deadly as Nuevo Laredo.

I’m about to go home from work. If "Seinfeld" is a rerun, then it’s kill kill kill kill DWI DWI DWI rape rape rape on channels 4, 7 and 13 (31, 34 and 49 down here). It’s like a DNA sequence where the amino acids have been replaced with felonies.

I blame technology. Too much information can be passed in too little time. I know I have previously asked television news people to take a more newsy stance in their broadcasts and cut down on the fluff. But I changed my mind.

The only solution is for you to KILL YOURSELVES (and your agents, and your advertisers.) You are scaring people.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. Go buy a newspaper. Before it’s too late and they’re all gone.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to Ciudad Juárez for the weekend. It’s closer and arguably safer. The TV wouldn’t lie, would it?
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