Commentary by News10 reporter Tim Daly
Years ago there was a boss at News10 who often dropped the phrase, "that's what people are talking about," to justify running a story of questionable news value.
These days we read online what people are talking about.
This week, we learned a lot of people are fascinated with the looks of Stockton gang suspect Jeremy Meeks. It seems Meeks takes a very good mug shot after being arrested. Between his cheek bones and baby blue eyes, thousands of people world-wide felt the need to express their fondness for his looks through a variety of websites.
So the discussion at News10 (and I assume other newsrooms) quickly got around to the discussion of, "is this news? And if so, what do we do with it?"
The "Meeks Mug Mania" turned out to be news simply because many people were swept away by a mug shot of a guy whose gang tattoos were just as prominent as his blue eyes. When he was arraigned on 11 felony charges and his bail was set at $1 million Friday, that was news as well because of his oddly-found fame.
Maybe it's because I live in Stockton, this story hit me differently.
Instead of finding amusement like so many others -- that this guy takes such a nice picture after being found with a gun in his car -- I was disappointed. Disappointed because mug shots in Stockton simply represent the latest batch of criminal suspects thrown in jail -- in a city that never seems to exhaust it's supply. The harder Stockton cops work, the more they find.
I've been a crime victim in Stockton more than once. A good friend had a gun pushed into his face one Saturday morning at a doughnut shop. There are simply too many good people in this city who've been victimized in one way or another to find any amusement in Stockton's crime situation.
The best part about "that's what people are talking about," is that it doesn't take long these days to forget one topic and move on to the next. I'm ready for Meeks' mug to be yesterday's news.