Bad news travels at the speed of light. Good news takes the bus.
We can champion the ability of electronic media and the 24-hour news cycle to capture an audience and inform, while we simultaneously decry that a majority of the information filling our screens is vacuous.
In a world where eyeballs and clicks mistakenly pass for meaning it’s easy to see how bad news, especially shockingly bad news, can dominate a conversation and overtake even a city the size and scope of Worcester.
Case in point: the summer’s gang war and shootings. True, the number of shootings (20) and the number of shooting victims (27) in Worcester are up in the first six months of this year; and, yes, several have been high-profile acts of violence.
Is this alarming? Most assuredly. Is Worcester becoming Chicago, St. Louis or Baltimore? Most assuredly not.
Related: Expert David Ropeik explains the disconnect between fear and probability
Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme’s report to the City Council includes a note on the likelihood of being involved in an incident: “There is a .0014 percent chance of being the victim of a non-domestic related aggravated assault,” he wrote. In other words, your chances are 1 in 72,000.
We shouldn’t dismiss what’s happening, and work continues to rid our streets of these criminals.
Meanwhile, while many folks were looking the other way, several noteworthy things have happened in the city this summer. Here’s a short list, not exhaustive by any means:
- The Recreation Worcester Program was an enormous success, with more than 500 children making a total of 10,200 visits from July 6 to Aug. 7.
- Worcester was ranked first in the nation in community farmers markets.
- Groundbreaking began on the new Worcester Regional Emergency Communications Center, 2 Coppage Drive. “When the facility opens, it will trigger an estimated $318,238 in additional support funding, facilitate multiple system redundancy and allow space for future expansion when the State requires the City’s 911 center to accept all wireless 911 calls directly in the near future; capacity which the City does not currently have,” Worcester officials said in a June 29 release.
- The Worcester Economic Index showed 4.4 percent growth in the second quarter.
- The city’s Park Stewards program provided five-week jobs to 30 young people to perform various duties to maintain and improve Worcester’s public parks.
- The Worcester Public Schools participated in the Free Summer Meals program at 17 sites throughout the city.
- The Worcester Bravehearts of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League drew 54,789 fans to Hanover Field at the College of the Holy Cross in their second regular season. The average attendance increased to 2,107 per game from 1,749 in 2014.
- The city showed strong support for festivals and events such as the Food Truck Festival, Asian Festival, Latin American Festival, next weekend’s Italian Festival, the Longsjo Classic and last weekend’s Craft Brew Race.
- In a true showing of community, Worcester residents and current and former Clark University students rallied to help Ann Jenkins raise more than $33,000 to renovate Annie’s Clark Brunch when it faced closure because of needed renovations.
Assimilate that and then let’s discuss Summer 2015 again.