There have been eleven drive-by shootings and other murders in the past ten days in a particular section of KCMO, and now a young woman (age 23 or 24, depending on the source of the news) is on the run from the police. According to the chief of police, she is the prime suspect in almost all of the violence. Some of the stories I've read call this a neighborhood feud; others describe it as gang-related--but then, the two aren't mutually exclusive by any means. It does sound as if the young woman under suspicion, Shauntay Henderson, is a well-known and powerful gang leader.
And tonight, she is thought to have shaved her head and put on men's clothes in order to evade the police. Newspapers and broadcast TV are running the police's (computer-generated, these days) illustration of what she might look like, and begging her to turn herself in.
Despite the computer modeling, I can't help visualizing this story in the font used by the Times of London in the 1880s (or the Times of New York,for that matter), with a lithographed line drawing of the shaven-headed, contemptuous fugitive. There's something archetypal about the whole thing. I don't mean to gloss over the horror of this string of deaths, and of the rage that must have caused them, because it's completely and terrifyingly real on both counts. But, viewed purely as a story, this one's a humdinger.
Charles Dickens, where are you when we need you?