Imagine this- nine women and a fifteen-year-old girl go missing and are found dead, shot or strangled, imagine them white middle to upper middle class women and I think you will imagine hysteria in the media, fear, a strong public outcry, and a fierce police effort to find the killer.
Now imagine the nine women, lower class, poor black women, prostitutes, and in imagining this, imagine no public outcry, no police effort, imagine nothing being done to find the killer. Imagine people not even knowing, unaware for over two decades that women are being murdered, their bodies tossed aside like garbage, and no one the wiser. No media attention, nothing, Is it really that hard to imagine? I think it should be, but in reality it’s not.
The ‘Grim Sleeper’ trial goes to the jury today, Lonnie Franklin, Jr. is being tried for the murder of nine women and a fifteen-year-old girl. The murders were committed over two decades; all the while Lonnie lived his life, hiding in open sight. The women’s bodies dumped in dumpsters in South Los Angeles and surrounding areas- in neighborhoods rife with crime and poverty. The women murdered were prostitutes for the most part, disposable, women of no value or concern, obviously- or there would have been attention to their murders, there would have been an effort made to solve the crimes in less than the twenty-some-odd years it took.
To believe all men are created equal is a joke, a nice try to make us feel good about ourselves, but we all know better; some lives simply don’t matter as much as others. It’s a harsh reality, and I can’t think of a way to level the playing field, make people value the life of a prostitute living on the streets of South Los Angeles matter as much as a woman living in Beverly Hills. And really, is the life of a drug-addled prostitute as valuable as say, a teacher, a doctor, a responsible person living a responsible, productive life?
The answer is not an easy one. Certainly all lives should matter equally. Still, it is a question that is not easily answered, and the reality is clear when you consider the Grim Sleeper case- these women were not missed, their lives were not valued, the police didn’t care, the media didn’t react, nothing was done for two decades.
This case answers the question, “Are all lives equal?” and the answer is clearly, by all actions and accounts, a resounding “No.”