This week, two men were arrested on suspicion of stealing more than $10,000 in utilities from Glendale Water & Power. And the following day, Wednesday, a dead body was found in the parking lot next to Clancy's Crab Broiler near downtown Glendale. The man had been released from jail early Tuesday morning.
Crime can feel anonymous from the outside. We don't know these people, and don't know what drama, pain or simple stupidity that drove them to our pages.
But there was a common thread through these stories: Almost everyone involved have Armenian surnames.
When these stories cross my desk, it makes my stomach turn. As soon as they post on the Web, cowards who would never sign their name to a letter to the editor use our online system to spew their bigoted garbage. The system is anonymous. People still need to register, but as soon as they do, their comments post automatically. We periodically check the comments, deleting the worst of them, but some slip through.
To these bigots and trolls, I have this to say: This region has a large number of Armenian Americans. Get over it. It is no mystery why people with Armenian surnames show up in our paper. They are business leaders, community leaders, regular folk and, yes, criminals. In any group, there are good people and bad people.
If this paper served South Boston, would anyone be surprised when people with Irish surnames appeared in the police reports? Of course not.
I recently met with Elen Asatryan, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee Glendale chapter, to get her take on all this. She felt the comments should continue to be posted, unfettered.
“When you have it out in the open, you're dealing with reality,” she said. “Then we can deal with it and find solutions.”
Elen added, however, that this should apply to pure opinion. Comments that contain false statements, she said, need to be deleted.