The first freshly dead body I ever saw lay in the back of a police vehicle, an African-American teenager who had tried to shoot an off-duty cop. He missed, and got shot by the cop instead.

For the City News Bureau of Chicago, that was a story. But not every shooting death was news in 1982. There were 670 homicides in Chicago that year, and City News judged a large number of them “cheap.”

That’s right — “cheap.” It was news slang for an event that was not worth a story. It was also a ghastly way to describe a lost life, even in the hard-bitten argot of City News.

The notion of a “cheap” death came to mind after the weekend carnage of 74 shootings and 12 deaths in Chicago. Those deaths made headlines, but largely because there were so many of them.

Read the rest at chicagotribune.com.

David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...