Regarding the Jan. 1 front-page article “Homicide rate down in much of region”:

Why did the headline over the continuation of the article, on Page A12, highlight the fact that homicides were up last year in Fairfax and Arlington? Fairfax’s total did rise from 11 to 17, while Arlington went from zero to four. Were these statistics worthy of note in a headline when Prince George’s County, a less populous county than Fairfax, registered 63 homicides? Likewise, the District had 88 homicides, though it has half the population of Fairfax and Arlington combined. Alexandria’s tally went from one to zero; why not highlight that fact?

Why not note that Prince George’s had more than twice as many homicides as all six Northern Virginia countries combined — this occurring in Maryland, a state with a much more progressive approach to controlling guns, which presumably were involved in a number of the homicides? In the twilight of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy and discussion on what to do about it, would you not find these facts more relevant? Is it possible that Virginia is doing something right in this policy area?

Unfortunately, The Post’s bias regarding the political cultures of Virginia and Maryland may cloud any attempt to delve into that kind of analysis.

Charles Cross,