The other side of the Eve tragedy

I wish there was more talk about the messed up fact that our town includes kids who think they have nothing to lose, so they may as well risk life in prison in exchange for... what? A car, a few bucks, gang membership??

I don't know much about sociology or the demographics of CH, but I'd love to hear from someone who does.

I do know that when I used to live in the Northside neighborhood, >50% of the people I saw walking down Broad St were visibly high/drunk. At a community watch meeting, the cop said that people would walk down our street to buy drugs in the park. Some people I know who lived by that park found syringes in their yard. The Carrboro cops do a great job in that neighborhood, yet it continues.

My inclination is to blame poverty. But these are people in the OC with OC schools! Maybe they didn't grow up here?

Could someone please tell me why these local kids don't get jobs and quit hanging out on Rosemary self-medicating and concocting brilliant plans involving hiding your hair while at the ATM??? Seriously. I'm not trying to be rude. I just want to know what the hell is going on.




Why do kids think they have nothing to lose?  Because they're kids.  The portion of the brain that controls this type of reasoning isn't fully developed until age 22-25.
I don't think discussing this issue in regards to Eve is appropriate right now. Asking a "what's wrong with these young people" sort of question doesn't sit well while so many of us, young and old alike, are still mourning her death and asking how any person, regardless of age, could have stolen her from us. I was amazed at the number and diversity of people who turned out at the events on campus remembering her life and her contribution to the community. It's a shame that it took a tragedy to bring these people together, but I hope that what comes of this is not merely a brief outcry but a truly meaningful discussion of positive steps we can take to make Chapel Hill and all places safer for everyone.

We gain nothing with our speculation at this point.  We do not know the perp was "local" nor do we know much else about what exactly happened.

Please, let's wait until we have some facts.  A thread on our youth is a healthy endeavor, but let's not jump to conclusions.

I completely disagree with Beckie's characterization of the people in Northside (where I lived for 8 years) and of the dynamics of this community in general.Llinking Northside with this awful murder is an extremely dubious and seemingly-racist leap.  It's not rude to want to understand the community, but it is problematic to make this kind of ungrounded assumption about people you don't know or understand. 

I appreciate the good intent in trying to understan, but I think you're way off-base and very much in danger of insulting and angering people with your statements, Beckie. In fact, I find it really upsetting in a way that is making it difficult for me to respond coherently. I'm going to stop now and try to think about something happy like the cost of housing in Chapel Hill (joke).


Ruby, you're welcome to disagree with my characterization of the people in Northside. I'm thrilled that you had a different experience during your 8yrs there. Your experience doesn't change the fact that >50% of the people I saw walking down my street in my 1.5yrs there were visibly high/drunk. That's simply a fact of my observation. It's also a fact that someone on my street moved out due to syringes in their yard.

I don't believe that linking Northside to the killing is racist. I made the link due to the high presence of DRUGS in both 1. Northside (from my observations) and 2. murders of this sort (from my speculation).

Hi Rudy, I have a vague idea of where the Northside is. I do not know where it starts nor where it ends. For that matter I do not know if it is predominantly a white neighborhood or a black neighborhood. And I could not tell from what Beckie wrote. I did read that she saw drunk and/or high people there.

Therefore, to me, her paragraph was a statement about what she observed. It was NOT her opinion about the people she observed.

Thank you for allowing me to be picky about the details.

I'm sure the >50% of the people you saw walking down your street in your 1.5yrs there would be happy to collect the reward money so that they could finance their lifestyle.  So if the person in the picture is "local," he would have been identified in a New York minute.   

After all, this community has so much experience with "murders of this sort" being committed by those >50% of the people you saw walking down your street in your 1.5yrs there.  So I guess that if they are protecting the perp, they don't need the reward money.

Please!  Why don't you hold off with the speculations until you have some facts to process.

Dude, I was just asking a question. I'm trying to sort through what happened just like everyone else is.
I don't believe that linking Northside to the killing is racist. I made the link due to the high presence of DRUGS in both 1. Northside (from my observations) and 2. murders of this sort (from my speculation).
... for the question in there.

The question was in the OP.

I just want to know what the hell is going on.

(Ok, you're right, that's not quite a question either :)


Perhaps the reason that you have seen many people in Northside either drunk or high (or both) is because this county has become very complacent. There is no real push for punishment and these criminals know it. We allow a very lenient system and citizens are scared to stand up to them. Perhaps it's time to stop being such a pushover "sensitive" county and begin a true grass roots efforts to make them realize that hard working, honest, tax-paying law abiding citizens are watching them. All of us should refuse to be victims, all of us should refuse to live in fear.

rightgrrl --

This "lenient" penal system to which you refer is the harshest in American history.  It was reportedly recently that more than one percent of adult Americans are now behind bars.  One in 9 black men between the ages of 20 and 34 are incarcerated. 

We have problems, yes, but they don't stem from being a "pushover" country when it comes to punishment. 

We have a lenient COUNTY as in orange county. I know the rest of the nation is very harsh and in most cases I'm glad that we are. Hopefully, the recent events would show orange county judges that they need a hard line for these hard criminals.

In this country, ONE out of every 100 Americans is in prison!


“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.” Helen Keller

Neither suspect now in custody for the murder is from Northside, or even Orange County. But many expected that they would be from Durham, which means the issues are more or less the same as the ones lurking behind this discussion -- race, poverty, drugs, gangs, and/versus Chapel Hill's (presumed) insulation from "hardcore" crime. Just scanning the comments under the online CH Herald stories gives you a flavor of the thinking of some, and it's not uplifting.

The loss of Eve Carson is great, and it would have been whether she died of cancer, a car crash, or this kind of random crime. But the pain to the community threatens to fester now that we have one picture of a popular and accomplished blond white girl appearing in the news next to pictures of two young, black men with criminal records and, plausibly, gang connections.

For many, the specter of gang activity is disturbing because it's extremely difficult to combat; and legal "leniency," if it exists at all for the communities where gangs evolve, has almost nothing to do with the forces that foster them. Moreover, gang activities are not limited to any race or culture -- writ large, a gang is a culture of terrorism.

For the community -- not just a neighborhood but all of Chapel Hill and the entire Triangle -- the us-them subtext is even more disturbing. The schisms torn wide during the Duke lacrosse-team episode are far from healed, and we're already seeing a resurgence of some evil rhetoric, and I don't use the word "evil" lightly. The murder was an evil act, but finding justice for the loss of Eve Carson will not come out of retreating to our familiar corners and arguing from blanket distrust of entire populations.

It will take integrity and courage to honor Eve and seek justice for her murder without getting mired in the subtexts. I hope we can do it.

Many good points Priscilla. In preparing for what I'm sure will be an onslaught of "I told you so's" from a legion of self-appointed at-home criminal investigators throughout Chapel Hill, I think we're far overdue for a healthy discussion of the way we view race in this community. Far too often I think we are unwilling to talk about race as a component to real world issues for fear of sounding politically incorrect. But the absolute greatest injustice we can bring to racial issues is not to talk about them. The civil rights movement didn't just magically make everything okay and bring about equality after hundreds of years of cruelty, humiliation, forced servitude, and everything else that black people have had to suffer.

We need to talk about why some people in Chapel Hill just assume that the killers were black. We need to talk about how race, geography, and politics are intertwined in the triangle. And we need to talk about why young minorities (and non-minorities alike!) are given so few opportunities that they turn to violent crime as a source of income. It's not the answers to questions about these kinds of things that are going to matter nearly so much as the conversations themselves, because I'm not entirely sure we as a community are aware of just how deeply we are surrounded by racism, latent or otherwise.

"Far too often I think we are unwilling to talk about race as a component to real world issues for fear of sounding politically incorrect."  Or too politically correct for that matter, Jason.  You have a good point either way.

Part of the problem is that we have come to assume that the word "racist" means "white-supremacist."  That is not correct.  I don't think anyone using OP believes in white supremacy, but I do think that everyone thinks or acts in racist ways at least ocassionally.  So, one thing we can do to facilitate the conversation is not to get overly defensive when someone uses that word 'racist' or maybe we just need a less emotionally charged word.

That is to say, I don't think the commenter above should be overly offended by Ruby using the word 'racist'.  She's not trying to say that commenter is a bad person (white-supremacist).  She is trying to raise the question of whether there are some race-based assumptions that underlie the comment - and she is trying to say that those assumptions seem unfair to her.

In fact, I'm a subscriber to the Avenue Q theory ("Everyone's a Little Bit Racist").

Had an interesting conversation yesterday with a friend, and we tried to imagine what all the community discussion would sound like if Eve Carson had been an equally accomplished, popular, and beautiful black woman and the two suspects were white and perhaps gang members. It was a challenging bit of mental exercise, and some of the paths of the discussion were either too complex or too painful to manage.

Which is another way, I suppose, of saying it's a discussion that has barely begun.

There has been plenty of press coverage of Eve Carson and how she made a difference in this world. As the president of the UNC-CH student body, as a scholar, as a volunteer helping numerous causes, as a friend - in every instance folks have portrayed her as truly special person with a big heart.

The cause of her death and all of the specifics are still not fully known, but we at least have been able to identify two suspects. Sadly, because of the suspects, some in our community see this case in terms of black and white and want to portray it in only those terms.

UNC-CH Chancellor James Moeser had some fitting words about this when he spoke at the UNC-CH/ Community Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Banquet in January. In his remarks, he told the audience the Cherokee legend of the “Two Wolves”

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

So, when I read a letter like the one in the 3/19/08 Chapel Hill Herald by a local resident, I have to wonder if he realizes which one he’s feeding:

Our real crime problem It certainly appears that Eve Carson of the University of North Carolina and Lauren Burk of Auburn University, both white females, were cheerfully murdered by black males.

Will the editorial pages of major news" papers demand that hate crime charges be appended to the indictments? Will the Justice Department nullify the constitutional protections against double jeopardy and order that the Alabama defendant stand trial for civil rights violations if the' first jury returns a verdict of not guilty? Will a Chapel Hill white mob riot and loot black businesses if the Orange County district attorney treats the black-on-white crime as a misdemeanor complaint?

Umm ...maybe not.

The simple fact is that if the United States did not have a black violent crime problem, the United States would not have much of a violent crime problem. Now, back to our obligatory Black Studies coursework, and another recitation of real or imagined white-on-black offenses that occurred in nineteen-aught-something.

Frank Hurley, Chapel Hill

There’s probably not much point in responding to Mr. Hurley, but I think he best be real careful about that well-fed wolf he he’s got. How about the rest of us?

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