Category Archive 'Crime'
24 Jun 2010
The National Enquirer discovered, and mainstream media like the New York Times have now picked up the story that Nobel Prize winner, once a hanging chad from the presidency, Albert Gore was accused of sexually attacking a masseuse in Oregon in 2006.
Police did not pursue the case evidently because Gore’s accuser declined to cooperate. References to her attorney handling the matter suggest that a private settlement may have been paid to induce her to withdraw the complaint.
A massage therapist accused former Vice President Al Gore of “unwanted sexual contact” at a hotel in October 2006, but no charges were filed because of lack of evidence, law officials said Wednesday.
The latest on President Obama, his administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.
A lawyer for the woman contacted the police in late 2006, said the Multnomah County district attorney, Michael D. Schrunk. Mr. Schrunk said the woman, who has not been identified, had refused to be interviewed and did not want the investigation to proceed.
But in January 2009, she contacted the police and gave a statement in which she said Mr. Gore had tried to have sex with her during an appointment at the Hotel Lucia. The National Enquirer first reported the accusations on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Gore, Kalee Kreider, said he had no comment. Mr. Gore and his wife announced on June 1 that they were separating.
A police report prepared in 2007 said the alleged incident occurred at 2 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2006. Mr. Gore was in Portland to deliver a speech on climate change.
The woman, according to the report, canceled appointments with detectives on Dec. 21 and 26. Her lawyer canceled a Jan. 4 meeting and said the matter would be handled civilly.
01 Jun 2010
Times are hard and crime is down. How can that be? Liberals have always understood that crime is produced by economic hardship and deprivation. More government assistance, more redistribution, liberals have consistently argued, are essential. Otherwise, the victims of structural injustice will probably revolt. Yet the most dramatic economic downturn since the Great Depression, though producing plenty of hardship, unemployment, and misery, has failed to produce the crime wave liberal social theory inevitably ought to expect.
Richard Cohen, at the Washington Post, reflects on the situation.
For liberals, this is bad news. ...
From 2008 to 2009, violent crime was down 5.5 percent overall and almost 7 percent in big cities. Some of those cities are as linked with crime as gin is with tonic or as John McCain is with political opportunism. In Detroit, for instance, with the auto industry shedding workers, violent crime was down 2.4 percent. In Washington, D.C., murder was down 23.1 percent, rape 19.4 percent and property crime 6 percent. ...
[I]t now seems fairly clear that something akin to culture and not economics is the root cause of crime. By and large everyday people do not go into a life of crime because they have been laid off or their home is worth less than their mortgage. They do something else, but whatever it is, it does not generally entail packing heat. Once this becomes an accepted truth, criminals will lose what status they still retain as victims.
03 May 2010
Yesterday, our friend Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm linked the generally admirable Clarice Feldman at American Thinker who was editorializing from the perspective opposite to my own on immigration.
Ms. Feldman quoted some alarming, and authoritative sounding, statistics from “the Law Enforcement Examiner.”
On April 7, 2007, the US Justice Department issued a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails.
In the population study of 55,322 illegal aliens, researchers found that they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.
They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses.
More than two-thirds of the defendants charged with an immigration offense were identified as having been previously arrested. Thirty-six percent had been arrested on at least 5 prior occasions; 22%, 2 to 4 times; and 12%,1 time.
Clarice Feldman ought to have inquired a little more more closely.
“The Law Enforcement Examiner” is actually an editorialist named Jim Kouri. Mr. Kouri’s biography identifies him as a former chief security guard at a housing project in Washington Heights and the “fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police” which, I expect, must be roughly on a par with being First Guard of the Tent at one’s local International Order of Oddfellows chapter.
Mr. Kouri is renowned on the Internet for his expertise on Satanism and for the exoticism of the views of some sources he has in the past relied upon.
Unfortunately, Mr. Kouri is not himself a reliable source. He tells us that his statistics come from “a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails” issued by the US Justice Department on April 7, 2007.
It is not accidental that Mr. Kouri does not link the original report.
The report in question was really released on May 9, 2005. It is GAO report number GAO-05-646R entitled ‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States.’
The figures cited all pertain to 2002-2003. Mr. Kouri (and the study’s authors) deliberately selected the best figures for making certain kinds of arguments in the quoted paragraphs.
In reality, this study pertains to 55,322 individual illegal aliens who are the portion of the illegal alien population that wound up arrested, convicted, and sentenced to jail.
55,322 out of the seven million illegal aliens estimated to be present in the United States by this same study is the 0.0079 portion of that illegal immigrant population, well under 1%.
And the character of their crimes?
Forty-five percent of illegal alien offenses were for drugs and immigration;
8% for Traffic violations;
7% for Obstruction of Justice.
60% of the under 1% of illegals in jail in 2002-2003 were not even in jail for any form of theft or violence.
And, more recently, both illegal immigration and violent crime have actually been declining (even while la patrie est en danger reports are dramatically increasing).
[S]tatistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.
According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona’s population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.
According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill “overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.”
If we really looked at the facts, we could only conclude that illegal immigration is not the same thing as narcotics smuggling and, by and large, illegal immigrants tend to be more law-abiding and less violent than us native-born Americans. The public panic and the draconian laws represent responses to misinformation, commonly disseminated by sensationalizing journalists.
Look at AP and Matt Drudge yesterday. or check today’s Wall Street Journal, which blares Killing Stokes Immigration Debate, in reference to Deputy Puroll getting slightly grazed in a minor skirmish with marijuana smugglers. Nobody got killed, and the incident had nothing to with illegal immigration.
01 May 2010
Bad reporting using sensationalistic headlines incorporating gross exaggeration and downright misinformation is how.
Look at how various news sources headline a basically trivial injury to a law enforcement officer received in the course of a minor skirmish with drug smugglers near the border.
What actually happened:
Pinal County Deputy Louis Puroll patrolling alone in a wilderness area about 50 miles south of Phoenix exchanged fire with five armed smugglers carrying bales of marijuana. A shot fired from one of the narcotrafficantes’ AK-47s apparently grazed Deputy
Puroll’s back. He called for assistance and was airlifted by helicopter to a regional medical center where his injury was treated, deemed to be non-serious, and the deputy immediately released.
So the Associated Press shrieks:
Deputy shot; illegal immigrants suspected
Matt Drudge echoes AP:
AZ deputy shot in stomach by suspected illegal…
Deputy shot by suspected immigrant released from hospital
There isn’t really much to report here. A deputy was slightly grazed by a bullet, sustaining insignificant injury, in a minor confrontation with bad guys engaged in smuggling marijuana.
The incident really has nothing to do with illegal immigration. The marijuana smugglers were not, in reality, on their way to pick fruit, wash dishes, mow lawns, or hang sheetrock at all. They were delivering a shipment of pot and once they delivered it, doubtless they were going to illegally emigrate the same way they had illegally immigrated. Undocumented aliens are not in fact arming themselves with AK-47s and shooting it out with police in order to get their hands on American leaf blowers.
It’s unfortunate, of course, that Deputy Puroll was shot at and slightly injured. This incident causes me to marvel at the futility of it all. You’ve smoked pot. I’ve smoked pot. Pretty much everybody in America has smoked some pot. Certainly every single one of the last three presidents has smoked pot.
Why do we insist of making things illegal which most of us still do anyway? And why do we tolerate a state of affairs that rewards crime bounteously while jeopardizing the lives of law enforcement officers to no useful purpose?
And finally, why do we insist on confusing the innocent people coming here to do hard work at low pay with the armed criminals crossing the same border?
Studies show that illegal immigrants commit violent crimes at a rate between four to eight times less than native born Americans.
27 Apr 2010
Rassmussen finds that a comfortable majority of Americans think this kind of thing is just fine.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last week signed a new law into effect that authorizes local police to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 60% of voters nationwide favor such a law, while 31% are opposed.
It’s true that Arizona does have serious crime problems associated with illegal border activities.
In Arizona’s case, the public safety threat obviously comes from smuggling connected to the illegal drug trade. Arizona is the unhappy victim of the confluence of two forms of irrational law making, both of which Americans commonly support and both of which Americans also commonly ignore.
We have an unfortunate tendency toward statutory overreach, and are prone to pass laws expressing moral sentiments, wishes, and aspirations which, at the same time, we have every intention of personally ignoring. That is how we got Alcohol and Drug Prohibition. That is how we got a 55 mph speed limit. And that is why we have immigration quotas that make the existence on American soil of the large pool of cheap labor we require illegal.
No one wants to see Latino gang members on the streets, and no one wants day laborer flop housing anywhere near them, but everyone wants his produce picked, his meat processed, his table bused, his lawn mowed, and every other kind of low skill labor available and affordable.
If the 21st century equivalent of Ellis Island were open and in operation, and people desiring to come to America to do work Americans need done for wages Americans can afford to pay were able to enter freely and legally, you would not have coyotes leading desperate people across the Sonoran desert over the Arizona border.
If we had intelligence enough to end our futile policy of drug prohibition, we could eliminate the enormous profits associated with trafficking and smuggling and all the warfare over drug-sales turf. There would be no drug cartels, no drug gangs, and no smugglers murdering Arizona ranchers like Robert Krentz.
It was Mr. Krentz’s shooting last month that produced the wave of indignation that caused the controversial bill to pass the Arizona legislature.
Arizona Republicans took the politically expedient course and pandered to an angry public by passing the draconian immigration bill. Making illegal immigration into a crime, like all victimless crime laws, will produce only random and selective enforcement, accompanied by increased official corruption. The new law will not cure Arizona’s crime problems, but it will poison Arizona’s, and the nation’s, politics.
25 Apr 2010
When Kitty Genovese’s rape and murder in Kew Gardens was ignored by 38 neighbors (none of whom bothered to summon the police) in Queens, New York in 1964, the entire country was appalled.
This time, in Jamaica, 25 people walked passed, or even actually examined, an injured man bleeding on the sidewalk, and again, no one called for help.
Kew Gardens and Jamaica are practically contiguous. map
New York Post:
A heroic homeless man, stabbed after saving a Queens woman from a knife-wielding attacker, lay dying in a pool of blood for more than an hour as nearly 25 people indifferently strolled past him, a shocking surveillance video obtained by The Post reveals.
Some of the passers-by paused to stare at Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax last Sunday morning and others leaned down to look at his face.
He had jumped to the aid of a woman attacked on 144th Street at 88th Road in Jamaica at 5:40 a.m., was stabbed several times in the chest and collapsed as he chased his assailant.
In the wake of the bloodshed, a man came out of a nearby building and chillingly took a cellphone photo of the victim before leaving. And in several instances, pairs of people gawked at Tale-Yax without doing anything.
Later, another man stopped, leaned over and vigorously shook Tale-Yax’s body. After lifting the victim’s head and body to reveal a pool of blood, he also walked off.
Not until some 15 minutes after he was shaken by the pedestrian — more than an hour and 20 minutes after the victim collapsed — did firefighters finally arrive and discover that Tale-Yax, 31, had died.
Firefighters were responding to a 911 call of a non-life-threatening injury at 7:23 a.m. when they found his body.
Cops said they received four 911 calls at around the time of the attack reporting a woman screaming, but found nothing. They received no other 911 calls.
21 Apr 2010
Ronald Reagan takes on James Dean in 6:03 video highlights from 1954 GE Home Theater drama “The Dark, Dark Hours.”
Appropriately enough, Ronald Reagan is a physician defending decency, home, and family. James Dean (who would get killed in an accident with his Porsche 550 Spyder a little over nine months later) plays a youthful criminal. 1950s criminality is represented as childishly impulsive, weak, neurotically insecure, and determined to express a transgressive subcultural identity by the use of hipster slang and a loud musical background of progressive jazz. The same dramatization would not be much different today in most respects. The criminal youth, of course, wouldn’t be white and blond. The music wouldn’t be jazz and the modernist patois would be different, but the same kind of childishness and the same sort of futile attempt to obtain respect through violence would work exactly the same way in an updated version just fine.
14 Apr 2010
Allee Bautsch and Joe Brown
We heard a great deal from democrats, the dinosaur media, and the punditocracy of the left recently about conservative rhetoric and all sorts of supposititious threats of violence to democrats who voted for the health care bill. No actual violence, of course, ever actually occurred.
It turns out, on the other hand, that leftwing violence these days is quite real. Last weekend, Allee Bautsch, an aide to Republican governor Bobby Jindal and her boyfriend were savagely beaten in New Orleans and both were seriously injured.
The news release issued by New Orleans police Tuesday evening… notes that the 25-year-old female victim and the 28-year-old male victim were attacked in the 600 block of St. Louis Street after leaving an event at a restaurant in the 400 block of Royal Street.
Jindal’s office acknowledged on Monday that Bautsch, his chief campaign fundraiser, was recovering from a broken leg after an altercation with a group of people in the Quarter on Friday night. Bautsch was attacked after a fundraiser for the Louisiana Republican Party at Brennan’s Restaurant, 417 Royal Street, the governor’s office said. ...
New Orleans police say that the incident began about 10:45 p.m. when a group of three to five men made “derogatory comments” to Bautsch and her boyfriend. When the man described as the male victim “turned toward” the group of men, at least one of the men struck him repeatedly. The woman “fell to the ground and screamed,” the news release said.
Police released a description of one suspect, saying he was in his 20s, looked “dirty,” and wore his hair in an auburn-colored ponytail. The man was 6 feet, 1 inch tall with a thin build, police said. He wore a light-colored T-shirt and dark pants.
Officers in the area responded and requested EMS assistance. The woman used her purse as a pillow while waiting for help. Once she was in the ambulance, the woman realized her purse was missing, the release said.
Kyle Plotkin, a Jindal spokesman, said Bautsch had surgery during the weekend and is facing a recovery time of two to three months. According to the NOPD news release, Bautsch’s friend was treated at the hospital for a mild concussion, broken jaw and broken nose.
The attackers were probably persons involved in a radical protest against a Louisiana State Republican Party fund raising dinner taking place at a local restaurant. The Hayride, a local political blog, describes the protesters.
Michelle Malkin is discounting rumors that the couple was attacked for wearing Sarah Palin pins.
Several prominent conservative blogs are reporting today that the victims were uncertain about whether their attackers had any connection to the demonstration and did not identify any specifically political insults from their attackers, including both Michelle Malkin and Ed Morrissey.
Human Events talked to the victim’s mother:
Della Burning, mother of Jindal staffer Allee Bautsch, confirmed that her daughter had been savagely beaten. She refused to discuss whether or not politics were involved (although at one point in the interview she did say the report was “accurate” when New Orleans Police Information Officer said slurs hurled at her daughter during the attack were “political in nature”).
Burning confirmed her daughter’s leg is broken in four places and she has five surgical scars and a steel rod now running from her knee to her ankle with seven screws holding it all in place. She did not fall and break her leg as was reported in the lonely and inaccurate story done by the Associated Press.
Burning also confirmed that the attackers did not rob her daughter or her daughter’s boyfriend.
On the other hand, the local blog Hayride (which covered this story in a lot of depth) is still arguing today that the attack was definitely politically motivated.
I wonder exactly how much of the full story is yet to emerge at this point.
28 Mar 2010
Serial killers have become enormously successful entertainment themes in popular fiction, films, and even an HBO series. These days, the FBI is operating a museum featuring the letters, art and artifacts associated with serial killers, called the Evil Minds Museum.
It is discussed in this FBI Podcast by the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit.
Unfortunately, the museum is not open to the public and is only intended to be used by criminal investigators, intelligence professionals, and academic researchers. Dr. Lecter could get in, but not you.
16 Feb 2010
Some news agency:
A survivor of an Alabama university shooting said the professor charged in the attack that claimed three lives methodically shot the victims in the head until her gun apparently jammed and she was pushed out of the room.
Associate professor Joseph Ng told The Associated Press on Tuesday he was one of 12 people at the biology department meeting Friday at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. He described the details in an e-mail to a colleague at the University of California-Irvine.
Ng said the meeting had been going on for about half an hour when Amy Bishop “got up suddenly, took out a gun and started shooting at each one of us. She started with the one closest to her and went down the row shooting her targets in the head.”...
Ng said the meeting was held around an oval table. The six people on one side were all shot.
“The remaining 5 including myself were on the other side of the table (and) immediately dropped to the floor,” he wrote.
Ng told the AP the shooting stopped almost as soon as it started. Ng said the gun seemed to jam and he and others rushed Bishop out of the room and then barricaded the door shut with a table.
Ng said the charge was led by Debra Moriarity, a professor of biochemistry, after Bishop aimed the gun at her and attempted to fire but it didn’t shoot. He said Moriarity pushed her way to Bishop, urged her to stop, and then helped force her out the door.
“Moriarity was probably the one that saved our lives. She was the one that initiated the rush,” he told the AP. “It took a lot of guts to just go up to her.”
Ng said the survivors worried she would shoot her way through the door, and frantically worked up backup plan in case she burst through. But she never did.
I thought it was interesting to read how when Amy Bishop’s gun jammed (or was simply empty), after she had shot six people, several of the remaining biologists were sufficiently driven by survival instinct to rise from hiding on the floor, ask her to stop shooting people(!), and then, as she presumably gaped at them in astonishment, employ superior numbers to push her out the door. After which, they proceeded to try to barricade themselves inside. It would be just too bad, of course, for anybody else who had recently offended Amy Bishop who happened along after she reloaded or cleared her jam.
Five people made no attempt to apprehend or disarm a woman who was obviously, temporarily at least, unable to fire any more rounds. As far as they were concerned, short term personal survival was the key priority. Dealing with Professor Bishop would be a job for the authorities. Let the police and the rest of the university community take their own chances. And when I look over the list of department members (not named in the article), it does seem to be the case that the majority of the persons potentially present, and not otherwise accounted for, would have been male.
14 Feb 2010
Victor Davis Hanson finds that the wisdom of the commentariat has changed. Via the News Junkie.
Labour deliberately set out to alter the culture, character, ethnic composition, and consciousness of Britain. If they didn’t like it the way it was, couldn’t they just have moved?
Phil Jones admits no significant Global Warming since 1995. His reference to the unknowability of the world-wide extent of Medieval Warming Period implicitly concedes that the science cannot possibly be regarded as settled.
Bad habit. University of Alabama faculty shooter also fatally shot 18 year old brother in 1986. Better not make her angry.
Congressman Delahunt was the DA that did not press charges.
10 Jan 2010
British model and singer Myleene Klass called the police after she waved a knife and managed to scare off two intruders trying to break in at 12:45 A.M. British police warned her that she might very well be arrested if she did that again.
Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear’Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden.
The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away.
Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an “offensive weapon” – even in her own home – was illegal.
Jonathan Shalit, Miss Klass’s agent, said that had been “shaken and utterly terrified” by the incident and was stepping up security at the house she shares with her fiancé, Graham Quinn, who was away on business at the time.
He said: “Myleene was aghast when she was told that the law did not allow her to defend herself in her own home. All she did was scream loudly and wave the knife to try and frighten them off.
13 Dec 2009
Rajeev Syal, blogging as “The Observer” at the Guardian, quotes a senior UN official who reveals that illegal drug money provided the only liquid capital during the crisis in the Fall of 2008, and may possibly have played the decisive role in averting a complete financial meltdown.
Drugs and crime chief says $352bn in criminal proceeds was effectively laundered by financial institutions
Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations’ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.
This will raise questions about crime’s influence on the economic system at times of crisis. It will also prompt further examination of the banking sector as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, call for new International Monetary Fund regulations. Speaking from his office in Vienna, Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. “In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor,” he said.
Some of the evidence put before his office indicated that gang money was used to save some banks from collapse when lending seized up, he said.
“Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities… There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.” Costa declined to identify countries or banks that may have received any drugs money, saying that would be inappropriate because his office is supposed to address the problem, not apportion blame. But he said the money is now a part of the official system and had been effectively laundered.
On the one hand, we libertarians can rejoice at the irony of the system being propped up by funds accumulated via victimless crime. On the other hand, of course, if drugs were legal, the massive profits that produced the vitally-needed needed liquid capital certainly could not have come from drugs.
07 Dec 2009
The Washington Times wonders aloud: Is Eric Holder’s Department of Justice experiencing major in-house fighting and a rash of resignations connected with a top-level decision to avoid prosecuting the 2008 voter intimidation by Black Panthers in Philadelphia seen everywhere on YouTube video?
Could it be that President Obama’s legal team is imploding due to a voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party? ...
First, a Web site called “Main Justice” reported on Wednesday (and we have since confirmed) that the Justice Department has, for now, ordered two key career attorneys not to comply with a subpoena about the case issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The commission, by law, has explicit power to issue subpoenas, and the law mandates that “all federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the commission.” The Justice Department, however, is citing internal regulations stemming from a 1951 case to support its order to ignore the subpoena. ...
Second, that same day, the two Republican House members with top-ranking jurisdiction over the Justice Department, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, issued a joint statement calling Justice Department delays “a cover-up,” and “a pretense to ignore inquiries from Congress and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.” At a hearing on Thursday, Mr. Smith said that “continued silence by the Justice Department is an implied admission of guilt that the case was dropped for purely political reasons.”
Third, at the same hearing, Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, accused Justice Department Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez of not being “truthful” while under oath, to such an extent that “there are people who have gone to jail” for such a level of purported “dishonest[y].”
The disputed statement, from what appeared to be prepared remarks by Mr. Perez that he later repeated insistently, was that “the maximum penalty was sought and obtained” against the one Black Panther for whom the charges were not entirely dropped. The bizarrely weak penalty consisted of a mere injunction for the Black Panther not to brandish a weapon near a polling place, within Philadelphia, through Nov. 15, 2012. In short, he is prohibited, only within Philadelphia and only for four years, from doing something that is illegal anyway. ...
As all of this was going on, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, the No. 2 man in the whole department, was announcing that very morning that he will resign after less than 10 months in office. Mr. Ogden – whose possible involvement in the Black Panther case had been specifically mentioned in the Civil Rights Commission’s subpoena – became the third high-ranking Obama legal official to announce a resignation in the last month. He was preceded by White House counsel Gregory Craig and deputy White House counsel Cassandra Butts.
06 Nov 2009
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.
—Winston Churchill, The River War, 1899.
As the commentariat sharpens its pencils and waits for further information on the motives of the Army doctor responsible for the Fort Hood massacre to emerge, it seems safe to predict that the liberals will not identify Islam’s propensity to inculcate fanaticism, xenophobia, and murderous violence as the key factor.
Most likely, they will blame guns and, following several leading liberal social scientists, insufficient American domestication and statism. If Americans just bowed to Socialism and accepted the complete universal authority, supervision, and direction of the paternalist state along with Max Weber’s Gewaltmonopol des Staates, and gave up retarditaire habits of owning weapons and relying in extreme situations on self defense, then we would be civilized like Europeans.
Jill Lepore quotes some leading authorities in the New Yorker:
The United States has the highest homicide rate of any affluent democracy, nearly four times that of France and the United Kingdom, and six times that of Germany. Why? Historians haven’t often asked this question. Even historians who like to try to solve cold cases usually cede to sociologists and other social scientists the study of what makes murder rates rise and fall, or what might account for why one country is more murderous than another. Only in the nineteen-seventies did historians begin studying homicide in any systematic way. In the United States, that effort was led by Eric Monkkonen, who died in 2005, his promising work unfinished. Monkkonen’s research has been taken up by Randolph Roth, whose book “American Homicide” (Harvard; $45) offers a vast investigation of murder, in the aggregate, and over time. Roth’s argument is profoundly unsettling. There is and always has been, he claims, an American way of murder. It is the price of our politics. ...
Pieter Spierenburg, a professor of historical criminology at Erasmus University, in Rotterdam, sifts through the evidence in “A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present” (Polity; $24.95). In Europe, homicide rates, conventionally represented as the number of murder victims per hundred thousand people in the population per year, have been falling for centuries. Spierenburg attributes this long decline to what the German sociologist Norbert Elias called the “civilizing process” (shorthand for a whole class of behaviors requiring physical restraint and self-control, right down to using a fork instead of eating with your hands or stabbing at your food with a knife), and to the growing power of the centralizing state to disarm civilians, control violence, enforce law and order, and, broadly, to hold a monopoly on the use of force. (Anthropologists sometimes talk about a related process, the replacement of a culture of honor with a culture of dignity.) In feuding medieval Europe, the murder rate hovered around thirty-five. Duels replaced feuds. Duels are more mannered; they also have a lower body count. By 1500, the murder rate in Western Europe had fallen to about twenty. Courts had replaced duels. By 1700, the murder rate had dropped to five. Today, that rate is generally well below two, where it has held steady, with minor fluctuations, for the past century.
The American homicide rate has been higher than Europe’s from the start, and higher at just about every stage since. It has also fluctuated, sometimes wildly. During the Colonial period, the homicide rate fell, but in the nineteenth century, while Europe’s kept sinking, the U.S. rate went up and up. In the twentieth century, the rate in the United States dropped to about five during the years following the Second World War, but then rose, reaching about eleven in 1991. It has since fallen once again, to just above five, a rate that is, nevertheless, twice that of any other affluent democracy.
What accounts for this remarkable difference? Guns leap to mind: in 2008, firearms were involved in two-thirds of all murders in the United States. Yet Roth, who supports gun control, insists that the prevalence of guns in America, and our lax gun laws, can’t account for the whole spread, and a few scholars have argued that laws allowing concealed weapons actually lower the murder rate, by deterring assaults. Some Europeans suspect that Americans haven’t undergone the same “civilizing process,” as if, unmoored from Europe, Colonial Americans went murderously adrift. Spierenburg speculates that democracy came too soon to the United States. By the time European states became democracies, the populace had accepted the authority of the state. But the American Revolution happened before Americans had got used to the idea of a state monopoly on force. Americans therefore preserved for themselves not only the right to bear arms—rather than yielding that right to a strong central government—but also medieval manners: impulsiveness, crudeness, and fidelity to a culture of honor. We’re backward, in other words, because we became free before we learned how to control ourselves.
Myself, I agree with Fred Boynton in Barcelona (1994):
0:25 into the 1:50 trailer
It’s not that Americans are more violent than Europeans. It’s just that we’re better shots.