One of the hottest topics in the tri-state area right now is "Relentless", the documentary about the disappearance of Christina Whittaker. While I feel that it is a compelling and well-made series, I believe it unfairly paints Hannibal as a wanna-be murder capital. I'll try to explain why.

Before I vent, here are several very important disclaimers. First, the disappearance of Christina Whittaker is tragic no matter what the truth is. I won't address opinions on her case since I frankly don't know who or what to believe. Second, I believe that Christina Fontana is a very talented filmmaker and has made one of the most compelling series I've seen in years. Truly binge-worthy.

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I was born and raised in Hannibal. Spent nearly all of the first half of my life there. I played baseball from little league to nearly high school at Clemen's Field. My dad worked at the Hannibal Post Office and my mother worked at a savings and loan there. I LIVED Hannibal and feel like I know the town like the back of my hand. Is Hannibal perfect? No way. Never has been and never will be. I say this with love, but Hannibal has been somewhat dysfunctional all the years I've known it.

I have watched every episode of "Relentless" several times. While I won't argue the facts presented on the show simply because I don't have first-hand knowledge about hardly any of it, I do want to contend with what I will argue is the overall vibe of the series. The inference is that Hannibal is wildly dangerous. In my opinion, the show tries to convince that being out in Hannibal at night is taking your life in your hands. I would respectfully disagree and I think I can prove my opinion with facts.

A recent Only In Your State ranking based on FBI statistics doesn't even have Hannibal in the top 10 in Missouri for being dangerous. Try walking in downtown Springfield at night and tell me Hannibal is dangerous. I dare you. Actually, don't do that since I don't want you to be harmed. Don't.

Another newer ranking of dangerous cities by Roadsnacks also doesn't have Hannibal as a top 10 most dangerous city either. My point is that the data doesn't back up the idea/concept that Hannibal is a city on the edge.

Has Hannibal changed for the worse over the years? I would be lying if I said there aren't things about Hannibal that are now gone that I miss. I would argue you could say that about nearly any city or town. Times and people change and yes, sometimes that isn't for the better.

I would highly recommend watching "Relentless" and making up your own mind. It's on Discovery Plus and is well worth the $4.99 a month it costs. You can easily watch the entire series in a free trial and decide for yourself if the portrayal of Hannibal is accurate. I don't believe it is, but then again maybe I'm just naïve.

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